pierce

verb
\ˈpirs \
pierced; piercing

Definition of pierce 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

Pierce

biographical name
\ˈpirs \

Definition of Pierce (Entry 2 of 2)

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

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Other Words from pierce

Verb

piercer noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for pierce

Synonyms: Verb

access, enter, penetrate

Antonyms: Verb

depart, exit, leave

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Choose the Right Synonym for pierce

Verb

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

Verb

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The flash sheets, taped to the front desk, featured designs by the staff at Armageddon: skulls, black cats, flaming hearts with swords piercing them, spiders, roses, jellyfish, an upside-down bat and a unicorn smoking a cigar. Zoe Greenberg, New York Times, "Friday the 13th, a ‘Tattoo Holiday’," 13 July 2018 Here began the second and more piercing trauma of Hemingway’s war. Robert R. Garnett, WSJ, "A Lost Love Gave Us Hemingway’s Spare Prose," 6 July 2018 Burbank resident Anne Curran thrilled at discovering Aphelocoma californica, a Western scrub jay, high atop a hillside tree after hearing its piercing call. Sara Cardine, latimes.com, "Descanso visitors, staff conduct citizen science in first BioBlitz," 7 June 2018 Perry’s soloing was a melodic, piercing howl atop the latter’s elephantine riff. Marc Hirsh, BostonGlobe.com, "Joe Perry rocks his way at House of Blues," 19 Apr. 2018 During the war, he was awarded the Silver Star for helping to guide his aircraft back to its base in England after having suffered a wound in his throat from a piece of shrapnel that pierced the bombardier bubble of his aircraft. Washington Post, "The story must be told.," 15 May 2018 Calzadillas, a mother of two, defied all odds after surviving a bullet that pierced the left side of her brain. Madeline Farber, Fox News, "Country music star Jason Aldean makes special visit to Las Vegas shooting victim," 7 Apr. 2018 Investigators later recovered a bullet that pierced Gasser's passenger-side door near the ladder, Normand said. NOLA.com, "In Ronald Gasser's murder trial, was he the aggressor or the victim?," 19 Jan. 2018 The blood-chilling screams that pierce quiet suburban life when someone inside the home is discovered, overdosing. OregonLive.com, "$30,000 loan by state of Oregon keeps flophouse open," 13 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of pierce

Verb

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

History and Etymology for pierce

Verb

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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Learn More about pierce

Statistics for pierce

Last Updated

9 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pierce

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

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More Definitions for pierce

pierce

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pierce

: to make a hole in or through (something)

: to go through or into (something) in a forceful or noticeable way

pierce

verb
\ˈpirs \
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

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.

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Comments on pierce

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