per·​fo·​rate | \ ˈpər-fə-ˌrāt How to pronounce perforate (audio) \
perforated; perforating

Definition of perforate

transitive verb

1 : to make a hole through especially : to make a line of holes in to facilitate separation
2 : to pass through or into by or as if by making a hole

intransitive verb

: to penetrate a surface

Other Words from perforate

perforate \ ˈpər-​f(ə-​)rət How to pronounce perforate (audio) , -​fə-​ˌrāt \ adjective
perforator \ ˈpər-​fə-​ˌrā-​tər How to pronounce perforate (audio) \ noun

Synonyms for perforate


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Examples of perforate in a Sentence

Cover the bowl with aluminum foil, and then use a fork to perforate the foil. he perforated the sheet with his pencil and put it in his binder
Recent Examples on the Web This has led some operators to perforate only near the top, or at least in the top half, of the casing. Ian Palmer, Forbes, 27 June 2022 The branch on the pine log went far enough into my chest to perforate my pericardium—that’s the membrane surrounding my heart. Outside Online, 10 June 2022 These stately specimens start out as small studs in the landscape, but have the capability of growing tall enough to perforate our skies. Jeff Lowenfels, Anchorage Daily News, 2 June 2022 Being careful to keep your fingers clear of the blade, push the corner of the heel downward and perforate the lid by digging in at an angle, more or less like an old-fashioned lever-type can opener. Christopher Michel, Country Living, 20 Apr. 2022 As Henri Hollis writes for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC), experts will perforate the shell’s casing with a separate charge to safely detonate it. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 18 Mar. 2022 Pistol rounds can perforate surfaces such as drywall, but rifle rounds are bigger and travel much faster. Washington Post, 30 Dec. 2021 Scopes can cause bleeding or even perforate the bowel, something that occurs in about one of every 2,500 procedures. Cassandra Willyard, Scientific American, 12 Nov. 2021 Left for long enough, the buildup can cause the colon to perforate, allowing the contents of the bowel to spill into the abdomen. Colleen Stinchcombe,, 20 Sep. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perforate.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of perforate

1538, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for perforate

Latin perforatus, past participle of perforare to bore through, from per- through + forare to bore — more at bore

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Time Traveler for perforate

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The first known use of perforate was in 1538

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Statistics for perforate

Last Updated

8 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Perforate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for perforate


per·​fo·​rate | \ ˈpər-fə-ˌrāt How to pronounce perforate (audio) \
perforated; perforating

Kids Definition of perforate

: to make a hole or many holes through


per·​fo·​rate | \ ˈpər-fə-ˌrāt How to pronounce perforate (audio) \
perforated; perforating

Medical Definition of perforate

transitive verb

1 : to make a hole through an ulcer perforates the duodenal wall
2 : to enter or extend through the nerve perforates the dura mater

intransitive verb

: to penetrate a surface the wound in the forearm was perforatingJournal of the American Medical Association

More from Merriam-Webster on perforate

Nglish: Translation of perforate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perforate for Arabic Speakers


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