punc·​tu·​a·​tion ˌpəŋk-chə-ˈwā-shən How to pronounce punctuation (audio)
: the act of punctuating : the state of being punctuated
: 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
: something that contrasts or accentuates

Examples of punctuation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Thanks to his trademark punctuation, this woman figured out in late 2016 that Buonocore was behind the posts. Ari Schneider, Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2023 Murray’s voice is so insistent, his fidelity to the natural patterns of the language so instinctual that omitting punctuation feels like just a minor concession for greater speed, like Olympic swimmers shaving their legs. Ron Charles, Washington Post, 22 Aug. 2023 Or, What does this specific punctuation in this specific part of this DM mean? Raven Smith, Vogue, 9 Aug. 2023 Even something as seemingly trivial as unusual punctuation can provide clues to a suspect’s identity – which is what happened in 2018, when a forensic linguist was able to pin a murder on a British man because of his unusual use of commas and spacing when sending text messages. Roger J. Kreuz, The Conversation, 15 June 2023 Throughout, Murray employs linguistic choices to distinguish the perspectives, most notably in Imelda’s section, where Murray eschews punctuation: no periods, no commas, no dashes, no semicolons — only the occasional question mark. Jonathan Russell Clark, Los Angeles Times, 10 Aug. 2023 That includes wiping out numbers, punctuation and words in spending bills to sometimes create new law that wasn’t the intention of the Legislature. Scott Bauer, Chicago Tribune, 6 July 2023 The letters were nice and big, with plenty of inviting airspace inside the word balloons, with a minimum of punctuation to decipher. Françoise Mouly, The New Yorker, 3 July 2023 When doing a one sequence shot you are rapidly met with not only physical limitations but some punctuation and rhythm where editing could be so useful. Emiliano Granada, Variety, 26 June 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'punctuation.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of punctuation was in 1593

Dictionary Entries Near punctuation

Cite this Entry

“Punctuation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctuation. Accessed 27 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition


punc·​tu·​a·​tion ˌpəŋ(k)-chə-ˈwā-shən How to pronounce punctuation (audio)
: the act, practice, or system of inserting punctuation marks in written matter to make the meaning clear and separate parts (as clauses or sentences)

More from Merriam-Webster on punctuation

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