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 punctuate (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 Mahomes missed a chance to punctuate a terrific season Sunday, completing just 24 of 44 attempts for 278 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in a 17-14 win over the lowly Falcons. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, "NFL MVP watch, Week 16: Aaron Rodgers rises to the top," 29 Dec. 2020 For a two-month stretch, following Jordan Clarkson’s trade to the Utah Jazz, Sexton looked like one of the conference’s elite scorers, robbed of the chance to punctuate his heater. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers backcourt tandem of Darius Garland and Collin Sexton show growth in season opener," 24 Dec. 2020 The West High girls won the meet-ending 400-yard free relay Friday to punctuate a narrow win over Eagle River in a Cook Inlet Conference dual swim meet. Anchorage Daily News, "Fast 500 by Summer Cheng propels South girls to swim victory," 24 Oct. 2020 What’s a farce without the goofy sound effects to punctuate the onstage antics? Matthew J. Palm, orlandosentinel.com, "Orlando Theater Best of 2020: Critic’s Picks," 23 Dec. 2020 Then cell service disappears and a series of otherworldly events punctuate the story — massive herds of roaming deer, unexplained ailments, a piercing sound in the sky. Hillary Kelly, Los Angeles Times, "The 10 best books of 2020," 10 Dec. 2020 Compressions and expansions of space punctuate your emotions. Washington Post, "You have until Nov. 22 to visit these six Smithsonian museums. Here’s what to expect.," 19 Nov. 2020 The hike starts out with a walk among low-growing pockets of mesquite, scrub oak, cactus, yucca and thickets of cat claw shrubs that punctuate largely barren grasslands. Mare Czinar, The Arizona Republic, "Off the beaten path: This Arizona hike unfolds with views and historical artifacts," 3 Dec. 2020 Kirk Cousins went 34 of 45 for 307 yards and three scores for the Vikings (5-6), hitting Justin Jefferson for his second touchdown grab with 5:38 to go and finding Beebe for the winner to punctuate a seven-play, 75-yard drive that took 65 seconds. Dave Campbell, chicagotribune.com, "Vikings rally for a 28-27 win over the Panthers after a wild and mistake-filled 2nd half," 29 Nov. 2020

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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Time Traveler for punctuate

Time Traveler

The first known use of punctuate was circa 1766

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Statistics for punctuate

Last Updated

24 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Punctuate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctuate. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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

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