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

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 Hader pitched a clean ninth, striking out O'Neill and Nolan Arenado to punctuate the victory. Curt Hogg, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 17 Apr. 2022 Three flecks of garish pink punctuate a photo of a woman’s back: a bundle of cockscomb blooms, satin ribbons twisted into her braids, tassels that peek out from under her blouse. The New Yorker, 30 Mar. 2022 But Curry missed, unable to punctuate his near-historic performance. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 20 Feb. 2022 Booming thunder and zappy brown-outs punctuate the stormy night (conveyed in the lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and in the sound and original music by André Pluess). Naveen Kumar, Variety, 17 Apr. 2022 Bursts of gunfire punctuate an otherwise calm scene of Romens’ka Street in Sumy, a city in northeastern Ukraine, according to a video verified by The Washington Post. Washington Post, 7 Mar. 2022 Treatments and hospital stays punctuate her experience of playdates, vacations and dorm-room hangouts over the years, with Smith’s vivacity and tenacity encouraging her friends, family and doctors — and the audience, in turn. Kimber Myers, Los Angeles Times, 20 Jan. 2022 Jackson said before rushing for a touchdown to punctuate an eventual 30-16 win. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, 20 Sep. 2021 Some players who are struggling at the plate will punctuate a strikeout or popup by snapping their bat in half over their knee. Mike Digiovannastaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 12 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near punctuate



punctuated equilibrium

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Statistics for punctuate

Last Updated

24 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Punctuate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctuate. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for punctuate


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

More from Merriam-Webster on punctuate

Nglish: Translation of punctuate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of punctuate for Arabic Speakers


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