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key·​punch ˈkē-ˌpənch How to pronounce keypunch (audio)
: a machine with a keyboard used to cut holes or notches in punch cards


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keypunched; keypunching; keypunches

transitive verb

: to enter (data) on punch cards with a keypunch
keypuncher noun

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
According to Rhonda’s mother, Judy, in September 1981, Rhonda began working as a keypunch operator at Hickory Steel Company about 20 minutes away from Valdese in Hickory, North Carolina. Kyani Reid, NBC News, 24 Dec. 2022 Mother landed a good job at nearby Tinker Air Force Base working as a keypunch operator. WSJ, 19 Dec. 2017 Apparently the alignment of the holes punched by the keypunch didn't quite match the alignment of the card reader, causing a read error. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, 11 Dec. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'keypunch.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1903, in the meaning defined above


1908, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of keypunch was in 1903

Dictionary Entries Near keypunch

Cite this Entry

“Keypunch.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a machine with a keyboard for punching cards to be used in data processing
keypunch verb
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