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

Kattar drops Lamas with a heavy two punch combination punctuated by a big right hand and then throws some additional punches on the ground until the fight is stopped. Todd Martin, latimes.com, "UFC 238 live updates: Henry Cejudo vs. Marlon Moraes," 8 June 2019 How fitting, then, to be in a structure where something as simple as a visit to the team store or a beer vendor offers a constant arc that keeps things moving, punctuated by upper concourse views through those 57-foot high X’s. John King, SFChronicle.com, "A look at why pro basketball and Oracle Arena were a perfect fit," 7 June 2019 Bieber recently married his girlfriend, while Sheeran has been on a break traveling with his longtime partner—and the melody is delicate, punctuated by warm whistles and a celebratory bridge. Raisa Bruner, Time, "Here Are Our Predictions for the Song of Summer 2019," 4 June 2019 Then colors sneak in, though not a lot of them—subdued flesh tones and somber earth tones, punctuated by flashes of silver; all traces of blue have been banished from the screen. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, "‘Shadow’ Review: Not Everything Is Black and White," 2 May 2019 The couple wanted to punctuate the calm with just the right amount of energizing, strong color. Nancy Hass, ELLE Decor, "This Brian J. McCarthy-Designed Hamptons Home is Filled with the Unexpected," 13 Mar. 2019 Season after season, the designer has made a point to punctuate her gauzy, girly creations with black satin ribbons and twinkly jeweled barrettes. Vogue, "Simone Rocha Crowned Chloe Sevigny in Her Signature Sparkling Hair Accessories," 16 Feb. 2019 After Naomi punctuates her gaze with jet-black flicks and pearlescent aqua pigment, Lisa-Kaindé taps on Urban Decay’s Moondust Eyeshadow in iridescent champagne Space Cowboy. Lauren Valenti, Vogue, "French-Cuban Sister Act Ibeyi Do Their “Going Out” Beauty Routine," 14 May 2019 The conference room is also hopelessly colorless, punctuated only by the hot pink and purple posters on the wall opposite the windows. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Barbie's 60th Birthday Wish Was to Be More Inclusive. Now What?," 2 May 2019

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

15 Jun 2019

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 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).


incapable of being surmounted or overcome

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