punctuation

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noun punc·tu·a·tion \ˌpəŋk-chə-ˈwā-shən\

Definition of punctuation

  1. 1 :  the act of punctuating :  the state of being punctuated

  2. 2 :  the act or practice of inserting standardized marks or signs in written matter to clarify the meaning and separate structural units; also :  a system of punctuation

  3. 3 :  something that contrasts or accentuates

Recent Examples of punctuation from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punctuation'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of punctuation

1593

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


PUNCTUATION Defined for English Language Learners

punctuation

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noun

Definition of punctuation for English Language Learners

  • : the marks (such as periods and commas) in a piece of writing that make its meaning clear and that separate it into sentences, clauses, etc.


PUNCTUATION Defined for Kids

punctuation

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noun punc·tu·a·tion \ˌpəŋk-chə-ˈwā-shən\

Definition of punctuation for Students

  1. 1 :  the act of adding punctuation marks to writing

  2. 2 :  a system of using punctuation marks

Word Root of punctuation

The Latin word pungere, meaning “to prick” or “to pierce,” and its form punctus give us the roots pung and punct. Words from the Latin pungere have something to do with pricking or piercing. To puncture is to pierce with something pointed. A pungent smell is one that is so strong and sharp that it pierces the nose. Someone punctual acts at the exact point when the hands of the clock prick the right moment. Punctuation pierces a string of words to form separate sentences.



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