Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

punctuation

play
noun punc·tu·a·tion \ˌpəŋk-chə-ˈwā-shən\

Simple Definition of punctuation

  • : the marks (such as periods and commas) in a piece of writing that make its meaning clear and that separate it into sentences, clauses, etc.

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of punctuation

  1. 1 :  the act of punctuating :  the state of being punctuated

  2. 2 :  the act or practice of inserting standardized marks or signs in written matter to clarify the meaning and separate structural units; also :  a system of punctuation

  3. 3 :  something that contrasts or accentuates

Circa 1539

First Known Use of punctuation

circa 1539

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

Rhymes with punctuation

abdication, aberration, abjuration, abnegation, abrogation, acceptation, acclamation, accusation, activation, adaptation, adjuration, admiration, adoration, adulation, adumbration, affectation, affirmation, aggravation, aggregation, agitation, allegation, allocation, amputation, alteration, altercation, animation, annexation, annotation, appellation, application, approbation, arbitration, arrogation, aspiration, assignation, attestation, augmentation, automation, aviation, avocation, blaxploitation, botheration, calculation, calibration, cancellation, carbonation, castigation, celebration, cerebration, chlorination, circulation, cogitation, collocation, coloration, combination, comfort station, commendation, commutation, compensation, complication, computation, concentration, condemnation, condensation, confirmation, confiscation, conflagration, conformation, confrontation, congregation, conjugation, connotation, consecration, conservation, consolation, constellation, consternation, constipation, consultation, consummation, contemplation, conurbation, conversation, convocation, copulation, coronation, corporation, correlation, corrugation, crenellation, crop rotation, culmination, cultivation, cumulation, cybernation, decimation, declamation, declaration, declination, decoration, dedication, defamation, defecation, deformation, degradation, dehydration, delectation, delegation, demarcation, demonstration, denigration, denotation, depilation, deportation, depravation, depredation, deputation, derivation, derogation, desecration, designation, desolation, desperation, destination, detestation, detonation, devastation, deviation, dislocation, dispensation, disputation, dissertation, dissipation, distillation, divination, domination, education, elevation, elongation, emanation, embarkation, embrocation, emendation, emigration, emulation, enervation, escalation, estimation, evocation, exaltation, excavation, excitation, exclamation, exculpation, execration, exhalation, exhortation, exhumation, expectation, expiation, expiration, explanation, explication, exploitation, exploration, exportation, expurgation, extirpation, exultation, fabrication, fascination, federation, fenestration, fermentation, fibrillation, figuration, filling station, fire station, flagellation, fluoridation, fluctuation, forestation, formulation, fornication, fragmentation, fulmination, fumigation, gene mutation, generation, germination, glaciation, graduation, granulation, gravitation, habitation, hesitation, hibernation, hyphenation, ideation, imitation, immigration, immolation, implantation, implication, importation, imprecation, imputation, incantation, incarnation, inclination, incrustation, incubation, indentation, indication, indignation, infestation, infiltration, inflammation, information, inhalation, innovation, inspiration, installation, instigation, insulation, integration, intimation, intonation, inundation, invitation, invocation, irrigation, irritation, iteration, jubilation, laceration, lamentation, lamination, legislation, levitation, liberation, limitation, lineation, liquidation, litigation, lubrication, lucubration, maceration, machination, malformation, masturbation, maturation, mediation, medication, meditation, melioration, menstruation, ministration, mitigation, moderation, modulation, molestation, motivation, mutilation, navigation, nomination, obfuscation, objurgation, obligation, observation, occupation, operation, orchestration, ordination, oscillation, osculation, ostentation, ovulation, oxidation, pagination, palpitation, penetration, percolation, perforation, permeation, permutation, perpetration, perspiration, perturbation, pigmentation, pixilation, police station, pollination, population, postulation, power station, predication, preparation, presentation, preservation, proclamation, procreation, profanation, prolongation, promulgation, propagation, prorogation, protestation, provocation, publication, radiation, recantation, recitation, reclamation, re-creation, recreation, reformation, refutation, registration, regulation, rehydration, relaxation, relocation, renovation, reparation, replication, reprobation, reputation, reservation, resignation, respiration, restoration, retardation, revelation, revocation, ruination, rumination, rustication, salutation, sanitation, saturation, segmentation, segregation, separation, sequestration, service station, sexploitation, simulation, situation, speciation, speculation, spoliation, stimulation, stipulation, strangulation, structuration, stylization, subjugation, sublimation, suffocation, syncopation, syndication, tabulation, termination, T formation, titillation, toleration, transfer station, transformation, translocation, transmigration, transmutation, transpiration, transplantation, transportation, trepidation, tribulation, ulceration, ululation, undulation, urination, vaccination, vacillation, validation, valuation, variation, vegetation, veneration, ventilation, vindication, violation, visitation, weather station


PUNCTUATION Defined for Kids

punctuation

play
noun punc·tu·a·tion \ˌpəŋk-chə-ˈwā-shən\

Definition of punctuation for Students

  1. 1 :  the act of adding punctuation marks to writing

  2. 2 :  a system of using punctuation marks



Word Root of punctuation

The Latin word pungere, meaning “to prick” or “to pierce,” and its form punctus give us the roots pung and punct. Words from the Latin pungere have something to do with pricking or piercing. To puncture is to pierce with something pointed. A pungent smell is one that is so strong and sharp that it pierces the nose. Someone punctual acts at the exact point when the hands of the clock prick the right moment. Punctuation pierces a string of words to form separate sentences.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up punctuation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to lessen in amount, effect, or force

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

fox-in-summer-forest

Which of these is a synonym of inchoate?

formless frightening massive experimental
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ