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 Demolition equipment tearing through the walls punctuated the last moments of a wing of City Hall that had accommodated city police officers for 65 years. Linda Gandee/special To Cleveland.com, cleveland.com, "The first wall comes tumbling down at old Rocky River police station," 17 Sep. 2019 Running back Aston Walter punctuated the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Glynn A. Hill, Houston Chronicle, "Wiley Green injured in Rice's loss to Wake Forest," 6 Sep. 2019 The priest punctuated the words and told the audience the good Leilah brought into the world remains active in the hearts of those who loved her. John Tufts, USA TODAY, "‘A beautiful soul’: Mourners gather to remember 15-year-old victim of Texas shooting," 3 Sep. 2019 Benham worked with the couple to choose playful pieces that punctuate the sleek, unadorned architecture: colorful rugs and textiles, a custom selection of artworks, and shelves accented with books and personal objects. Lucia Tonelli, ELLE Decor, "Inside a Luxe Lincoln Park Home that Sacrifices Nothing," 16 Aug. 2019 The festival punctuated a 12-month period of unprecedented growth in which Wallace’s team closed 250 deals for artists on the UTA roster, increasing the company’s revenue by 275%, according to the agency. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "Billboard Announces Its Inaugural Pride List of Industry-Shaping LGBTQ Executives," 8 Aug. 2019 Nigeria is no substitute; Tunde’s only connection to the country is through long-distance calls with his grandmother, who appears in interstitial dialogues that punctuate the narrative like a transiting comet. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 22 July 2019 Firecrackers and car horns punctuated the celebratory hubbub. Madeleine Wattenbarger, The New Republic, "Did the Mexican People Really Win?," 5 July 2019 The shows, both of which are punctuated by two intermissions, are running in repertory at the Cutler Majestic through March 25 and should not be missed. Don Aucoin, BostonGlobe.com, "Just four actors to perform ‘Saint Joan’ and ‘Hamlet’? Sounds like utter Bedlam.," 12 Mar. 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

2 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for punctuate

The first known use of punctuate was circa 1766

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More Definitions for punctuate


How to pronounce punctuate (audio)

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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Comments on punctuate

What made you want to look up punctuate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


an agreement to stop fighting a war

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