punc·tu·ate | \ˈpəŋk-chə-ˌwāt \
punctuated; punctuating

Definition of punctuate 

transitive verb

1 : to mark or divide (written matter) with punctuation marks

2 : to break into or interrupt at intervals the steady click of her needles punctuated the silence— Edith Wharton

intransitive verb

: to use punctuation marks

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Other Words from punctuate

punctuator \ˈpəŋk-chə-ˌwā-tər \ noun

Examples of punctuate in a Sentence

Do you know how to punctuate a sentence correctly? punctuated each and every word of his denial with a pound of his fist on the table

Recent Examples on the Web

As if to punctuate the peril, a former Thai navy diver died while taking part in rescue efforts, running out of oxygen. Kaitlyn Schallhorn, Fox News, "Thai soccer rescue efforts might need to happen sooner than expected, experts warn," 7 July 2018 But just in the last week, things got a little bit better, and President Obama bore his soul and sang Amazing Grace in front of a nation to punctuate what has otherwise been an awful year. The Editors Of Gq, GQ, "A List of the 101 Most American Things in 'Murica," 2 July 2018 More effective is the inclusion of archival news clips and other footage of the real John Gotti and his family and associates to punctuate key events and transitions. Gary Goldstein, latimes.com, "Overly reverent bio-pic 'Gotti' strands a solid John Travolta performance in less-than-epic drama," 15 June 2018 The fresh berry filling is sweetened just enough with honey to punctuate the inherent sweetness of the fruit, and a splash of balsamic vinegar adds a deep, jammy flavor dimension. Ellie Krieger, charlotteobserver, "Mixed-berry galette makes dessert easy as pie," 29 May 2018 World’s worst sportscaster Save The Max, season 2, episode 3 Zack and Co. revive KKTY, the school’s radio station, and Slater becomes the world’s most awkward sportscaster, complete with a horn to punctuate his punchlines. 7. Charles Curtis, For The Win, "The 13 greatest 'Saved by the Bell' sports moments, ranked," 22 May 2018 As her boisterous curls flung back and forth during her mini dance session, the former Fifth Harmony singer later joined Khalid to punctuate their stellar outing. Carl Lamarre, Billboard, "Khalid & Normani Deliver Rousing Performance of 'Love Lies' at the 2018 Billboard Music Awards," 20 May 2018 Former Rice University football coach Al Conover threw a chair through a glass window to punctuate a pregame speech before the inspired Owls beat Arkansas in 1972 for their first win over the Hogs since 1958. Ron Higgins, NOLA.com, "LSU's Ed Orgeron might be a bit crazy, but it's whatever gets the job done," 16 May 2018 To punctuate the mea culpa, AT&T parted ways with Bob Quinn, its chief lobbyist. Scott Moritz, Bloomberg.com, "AT&T's M&A Fumble Still Leaves CEO With More Wins Than Losses," 12 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punctuate.' 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 punctuate

circa 1766, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for punctuate

Medieval Latin punctuatus, past participle of punctuare to point, provide with punctuation marks, from Latin punctus point

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Statistics for punctuate

Last Updated

5 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for punctuate

The first known use of punctuate was circa 1766

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More Definitions for punctuate



English Language Learners Definition of punctuate

: to use punctuation marks in (a piece of writing)

: to interrupt or occur in (something) repeatedly


punc·tu·ate | \ˈpəŋk-chə-ˌwāt \
punctuated; punctuating

Kids Definition of punctuate

1 : to add punctuation marks to writing

2 : to interrupt or occur in repeatedly His speech was punctuated by applause.

3 : to give emphasis to She kept talking, using her hands sometimes to punctuate a point.— Brian Selznick, Wonderstruck

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Comments on punctuate

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