\ ˈpirs How to pronounce pierce (audio) \
pierced; piercing

Definition of pierce

transitive verb

1a : to run into or through as a pointed weapon does : stab
b : to enter or thrust into sharply or painfully
2 : to make a hole through : perforate
3 : to force or make a way into or through
4 : to penetrate with the eye or mind : discern
5 : to penetrate so as to move or touch the emotions of

intransitive verb

: to force a way into or through something

Other Words from pierce

piercer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for pierce



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Choose the Right Synonym for pierce

enter, penetrate, pierce, probe mean to make way into something. enter is the most general of these and may imply either going in or forcing a way in. entered the city in triumph penetrate carries a strong implication of an impelling force or compelling power that achieves entrance. the enemy penetrated the fortress pierce means an entering or cutting through with a sharp pointed instrument. pierced the boil with a lancet probe implies penetration to investigate or explore something hidden from sight or knowledge. probed the depths of the sea

Examples of pierce in a Sentence

The needle pierced her skin. The bullet pierced his lung. The needle pierced into her skin. The bullet pierced through his lung. A scream pierced the silence.
Recent Examples on the Web Little rays of dying starlight were escaping from the clouds of dust, just as sun rays might pierce through clouds. Rivka Galchen, The New Yorker, 18 July 2022 The strategy could be replicated in the future to pierce the information chokehold that Fox News and other right-wing media outlets have on the Republican voting base. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 9 Aug. 2022 More guns, more security, more ballistic blankets and more prayer. In fairness to the network, however, a couple of voices have managed to pierce the proceedings. Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 27 May 2022 This is because Fifa is on the warpath to pierce the earnings bubble intermediaries have been receiving for some time and according to a report in The Athletic is poised to finally take significant action in doing so. Zak Garner-purkis, Forbes, 17 May 2022 In the distance, a few beams of sunlight had managed to pierce through, making golden the hills below. Ryan Kost, San Francisco Chronicle, 8 May 2022 Hubble’s view of the stellar nursery was already stunning, but Webb’s infrared cameras are able to pierce through cosmic dust, revealing previously invisible areas where new stars are being born. Denise Chow, NBC News, 12 July 2022 Video of the incident shows glass flying as bullets pierce and break the driver’s side window. Teri Figueroa, San Diego Union-Tribune, 15 July 2022 At best, or at least until Chase could assert an alter ego theory to pierce the entity separateness of the LLCs, Chase would have been stuck with a charging order against the LLCs. Jay Adkisson, Forbes, 11 July 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of pierce

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for pierce

Middle English percen, from Anglo-French percer, from Vulgar Latin *pertusiare, from Latin pertusus, past participle of pertundere to perforate, from per- through + tundere to beat — more at per-, contusion

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Time Traveler for pierce

Time Traveler

The first known use of pierce was in the 14th century

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Dictionary Entries Near pierce

pier buttress



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Statistics for pierce

Last Updated

20 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pierce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pierce. Accessed 1 Oct. 2022.

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More Definitions for pierce


\ ˈpirs How to pronounce pierce (audio) \
pierced; piercing

Kids Definition of pierce

1 : to make a hole in or through or as if in or through I had my ears pierced. A stab of fear pierced his heart.
2 : to force or make a way into or through The sunshine pierced through their faded dresses …— Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House on the Prairie


transitive verb
pierced; piercing

Legal Definition of pierce

: to see through the usually misleading or false appearance of the object of summary judgment is to pierce the pleadings and allow a judgment on the merits— J. H. Friedenthal et al. the Internal Revenue Service may attempt to pierce the plain meaning of the agreement— W. M. McGovern, Jr. et al.
pierce the corporate veil
: to disregard the corporate entity and reach the personal assets of the corporation's controlling parties : hold the controlling parties (as officers or shareholders) of a corporation personally liable for wrongful acts or debts of the corporation a…creditor in New York cannot pierce the corporate veil solely on grounds of inadequate capitalization— R. C. Clark — compare corporate immunity at immunity

Note: An action to pierce the corporate veil is usually grounded on the corporation's being an instrumentality or alter ego of the officers or shareholders and on some misuse (as fraud) of the officers' or shareholders' control over the corporation.

Pierce biographical name

\ ˈpirs How to pronounce Pierce (audio) \

Definition of Pierce

Franklin 1804–1869 14th president of the U.S. (1853–57)

More from Merriam-Webster on pierce

Nglish: Translation of pierce for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pierce for Arabic Speakers


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