punc·​tu·​ate | \ ˈpəŋk-chə-ˌwāt How to pronounce punctuate (audio) \
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 How to pronounce punctuator (audio) \ 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

But in Yellowstone, everything happens — big, soapy things that are usually punctuated by long soliloquies. Tim Goodman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Yellowstone': TV Review," 18 June 2018 And to Las Vegas, where its very first day of operations was punctuated by a headline-grabbing fender-bender. Aarian Marshall, WIRED, "To Bring on the Robocars, Scientists Must Understand How Humans Ride," 5 June 2018 Anne Krueger, a friend who accompanied him to games, said Mr. Brandais punctuated the outings with imitations of broadcasters spouting cliches. John Wilkens, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Jack Brandais, 'joyride guru' who shared love of county roads, dies from heart attack at 59," 16 Feb. 2018 There are pleading tweets punctuated by crying emojis. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, "Sorry Marie Kondo—I Love Mess!," 12 Feb. 2019 The meeting Monday punctuates Mr. Khalilzad’s latest diplomatic whirlwind in the region to line up support for substantive talks. Asa Fitch, WSJ, "U.S. Envoy Meets High-Ranking Taliban Officials in Push for Peace," 17 Dec. 2018 The entire performance was punctuated by the appearance of a giant cobra rising out of the set behind her, a nod to the snake motif that has characterized the entire Reputation era. Chelsea Stone, Glamour, "Taylor Swift Literally Lit the 2018 American Music Awards Stage on Fire," 9 Oct. 2018 The industrial, minimalist space is punctuated by pops of colors from the bags on display—to be credited to Tokujin Yoshioka, a Japanese designer who's also worked with Louis Vuitton, Cartier, and Hermès. Bridget Hallinan, Condé Nast Traveler, "5 Fall Store Openings We're Excited About," 21 Sep. 2018 Tyreek Hill added five catches for 90 yards, all in the second half, with another touchdown to punctuate his typically stellar outing. Dave Skretta, The Seattle Times, "Chiefs celebrating Mahomes’ big day _ on his birthday," 17 Sep. 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

9 Mar 2019

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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 How to pronounce punctuate (audio) \
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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