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  1. the act of piercing or perforating, as with a pointed instrument or object.
  2. a hole or mark so made.
  3. Zoology. a small pointlike depression.
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verb (used with object), punc·tured, punc·tur·ing.
  1. to pierce or perforate, as with a pointed instrument: to puncture leather with an awl.
  2. to make (a hole, perforation, etc.) by piercing or perforating: He punctured a row of holes in the cardboard.
  3. to make a puncture in: A piece of glass punctured the tire.
  4. to reduce or diminish as if by piercing; damage; wound: to puncture a person's pride.
  5. to cause to collapse or disintegrate; spoil; ruin: to puncture one's dream of success.
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verb (used without object), punc·tured, punc·tur·ing.
  1. to become punctured: These tires do not puncture easily.
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Origin of puncture

1350–1400; Middle English < Latin pūnctūra a pricking, equivalent to pūnct(us) (past participle of pungere to pierce; see pungent), + -ūra -ure
Related formspunc·tur·a·ble, adjectivepunc·ture·less, adjectivepunc·tur·er, nounnon·punc·tur·a·ble, adjectiveun·punc·tured, adjective


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for puncture


  1. a small hole made by a sharp object
  2. a perforation and loss of pressure in a pneumatic tyre, made by sharp stones, glass, etc
  3. the act of puncturing or perforating
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  1. (tr) to pierce (a hole) in (something) with a sharp object
  2. to cause (something pressurized, esp a tyre) to lose pressure by piercing, or (of a tyre, etc) to be pierced and collapse in this way
  3. (tr) to depreciate (a person's self-esteem, pomposity, etc)
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Derived Formspuncturable, adjectivepuncturer, noun

Word Origin

C14: from Latin punctūra, from pungere to prick
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 puncture


late 14c., from Late Latin punctura "a pricking," from Latin punctus, past participle of pungere "to prick, pierce" (see pungent).

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1690s, from puncture (n.). Related: Punctured; puncturing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

puncture in Medicine


  1. To pierce with a pointed object, as with a needle.
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  1. A hole or depression made by a sharp object.centesis
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.