1 of 5

noun (1)

: the claw of a bird of prey


2 of 5

verb (1)

pounced; pouncing

intransitive verb

: to swoop upon and seize something with or as if with talons
: to seize upon and make capital of something (such as another's blunder or an opportunity)
: to make a sudden assault or approach


3 of 5

noun (2)

: the act of pouncing


4 of 5

verb (2)

pounced; pouncing

transitive verb

: to dust, rub, finish, or stencil with pounce


5 of 5

noun (3)

: a fine powder formerly used to prevent ink from spreading
: a fine powder for making stenciled patterns

Examples of pounce in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
About two weeks before the Feb. 10 attack, a mountain lion pounced on a dog in its backyard in nearby Dillon the night of Jan. 27 and dragged the dog away from its home, McClatchy News previously reported. Brooke Baitinger, Idaho Statesman, 13 Feb. 2024 Trump has also been dogged by the age and health questions on the trail as of late, but that didn't stop his allies from pouncing. Josh Meyer, USA TODAY, 8 Feb. 2024 The app has a massive lead, but if TikTok doesn’t stick the landing, its competitors are ready to pounce. Thomas Germain / Gizmodo, Quartz, 6 Feb. 2024 Later, as Steele enters an Oklahoma bar festooned with Trump signs and Confederate flags, Ferrell waits outside, ready to pounce if the situation gets dangerous. In Will & Harper, Vulture, 23 Jan. 2024 After the Lions first playoff win in more than 30 years, Natalie Garrett posted to Facebook a photo of herself in front of Ford field, grinning, in a fuzzy, Honolulu blue coat and cap with a pouncing predatory cat. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, 19 Jan. 2024 The Maple Leafs finally scored with 5:43 remaining in regulation when Tavares pounced on a loose puck in front of the Ducks goal and scored his 12th of the season on the power play. Doug Padilla, Los Angeles Times, 4 Jan. 2024 Trump’s campaign pounced on the issue shortly after the release of the report. Justin Sink, Fortune, 9 Feb. 2024 Disney’s harshest critics will be quick to pounce on any bad news reported Feb. 7 when the company unveils earnings for the fourth quarter of 2023. Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 7 Feb. 2024
After all, a line of tech bros, arms akimbo and waiting to pounce can be intimidating at worst and off-putting at best. Al Kingsley, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 When an opportunity to open a flower shop in Harlem arises, Ricki pounces on the chance. Lizz Schumer, Peoplemag, 8 Feb. 2024 Anyone can see that cats that are well fed still pounce on small moving objects, and that cats can lead healthy and seemingly contented lives indoors. Jonathan Franzen, The New Yorker, 25 Dec. 2023 Rather than running after their meals, however, leopards sneak towards prey and pounce, ambushing them from the treetops or other hideouts. Sam Walters, Discover Magazine, 26 Sep. 2023 The natural catnip inside will entice your cat to play and pounce. Kristi Arnold, Rolling Stone, 5 Dec. 2023 Find it on Amazon Your Cat will Pounce on This Flopping Fish Watch your cat pounce and play with the flopping fish. Kristi Arnold, Rolling Stone, 5 Dec. 2023 The schedule is on the softer side after that so pounce if this defense becomes available over the next few weeks. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Sep. 2023 When Moore found Logan Loya for a 24-yard touchdown with San Diego State slow to react on a no-huddle play, the combination of UCLA’s penchant to pounce and an inability to stop the pouncing stunted any remaining drama. Bryce Miller, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10 Sep. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Noun (1)

Middle English, punching tool, dagger, talon — more at punch

Verb (2)

Middle French poncer, from ponce

Noun (3)

French ponce pumice, from Middle French, from Late Latin pomic-, pomex, alteration of Latin pumic-, pumex — more at foam

First Known Use

Noun (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

1648, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun (2)

1841, in the meaning defined above

Verb (2)

1535, in the meaning defined above

Noun (3)

1705, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pounce was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near pounce

Cite this Entry

“Pounce.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pounce. Accessed 27 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


pounced; pouncing
: to swoop down on and seize something
a cat waiting to pounce
: to make a sudden assault or approach
a clerk pounced on me immediately
pounce noun

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