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 Police records show the relationship was punctuated with violence. Christy Gutowski, chicagotribune.com, "Two troubled people met at a McHenry County courthouse in 2012. Today, they stand charged in the murder of their 5-year-old son.," 25 Oct. 2019 Between these delays, the field seems to flip at a rate as fast as five times every million years, and these periods are then punctuated with hyperactive spurts. National Geographic, "Earth's magnetic field flips much more frequently than we thought," 2 Oct. 2019 At a meeting Tuesday at City Hall punctuated with shouting and hissing from the crowd, members of the Los Angeles City Council began to discuss how and whether to rewrite city rules about sidewalk sleeping — and came out with no clear answer. Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, "Will L.A. impose new rules on sidewalk sleeping? Protests and debate erupt at City Hall," 24 Sep. 2019 Jarvis Landry continues to have a good camp, seemingly punctuating each day with an acrobatic catch. Scott Patsko, cleveland.com, "Browns training camp offensive report: Dontrell Hilliard shows off his versatility," 28 July 2019 The grounds span just over two acres wrapped by formal gardens and punctuated with a vast circle drive. Mario Sanelli, The Denver Post, "This iconic Cherry Hills Village home listed at $7.75 million after major renovations," 17 June 2019 Guests were led to extra long banquet tables dressed in metallic black cloths and punctuated with Dan-Flavin-esque light pieces. Kaitlyn Weiss, Vogue, "Inside BAM’s Otherworldy Gala Honoring Ethan Hawke and Walter Mosley," 16 May 2019 The musician is a master at matters of the heart, crooning about the euphoria of new romance backed up with her ethereal melodies and punctuated with beats that will get any listener on their feet grooving. Gabe Bergado, Teen Vogue, "LÉON's Dreamy Ballads and Bright Bops Will Give You All the Feels," 26 Apr. 2019 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

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

16 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).


meddlesome, informal, or unofficial

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