• synonyms


verb (used with object), punc·tu·at·ed, punc·tu·at·ing.
  1. to mark or divide (something written) with punctuation marks in order to make the meaning clear.
  2. to interrupt at intervals: Cheers punctuated the mayor's speech.
  3. to give emphasis or force to; emphasize; underline.
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verb (used without object), punc·tu·at·ed, punc·tu·at·ing.
  1. to insert or use marks of punctuation.
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Origin of punctuate

1625–35; < Medieval Latin pūnctuātus (past participle of pūnctuāre to point), derivative of Latin pūnctus a pricking; see punctual
Related formspunc·tu·a·tor, nounnon·punc·tu·at·ing, adjectivere·punc·tu·ate, verb (used with object), re·punc·tu·at·ed, re·punc·tu·at·ing.un·punc·tu·at·ed, adjectiveun·punc·tu·at·ing, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for punctuator


verb (mainly tr)
  1. (also intr) to insert punctuation marks into (a written text)
  2. to interrupt or insert at frequent intervalsa meeting punctuated by heckling
  3. to give emphasis to
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Derived Formspunctuator, noun

Word Origin for punctuate

C17: from Medieval Latin punctuāre to prick, from Latin punctum a prick, from pungere to puncture
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for punctuator



1630s, "to point out," from Medieval Latin punctuatus, past participle of punctuare, from Latin punctus (see point (n.)). Meaning in reference to text, "to have pauses or stops indicated," is from 1818, probably a back-formation from punctuation. Hence, "interrupted at intervals" (1833). Related: Punctuated; punctuating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper