punc·​tu·​a·​tion | \ ˌpəŋk-chə-ˈwā-shən How to pronounce punctuation (audio) \

Definition of punctuation

1 : the act of punctuating : the state of being punctuated
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 : something that contrasts or accentuates

Examples of punctuation in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In the 1960s, Merwin moved back to New York, living in Greenwich Village, where his work became more experimental and autobiographical, losing punctuation and other formal elements. Bridget Read, Vogue, "W.S. Merwin, Prize-Winning Poet and Conservationist, Has Died at 91," 15 Mar. 2019 Every once in a while, a Wall Street Journal columnist envies the punctuation of people who don’t have to follow a stylebook. Jason Zweig, WSJ, "Mutual Funds Just Can’t Seem to Stop Slipping Up," 31 Aug. 2018 As the evening wound down, guests left with beach-friendly straw totes filled with items from Goop and Saks—the ideal punctuation to a lovely, midsummer night. Vogue, "Goop and Saks Fifth Avenue Toast Summer in Sag Harbor," 18 July 2018 Then, Kaitlyn interviews The Verge’s copy editor Kara Verlaney about her thoughts on proper punctuation across the internet and all its forms. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "The way we text says a lot about our personality," 7 Nov. 2018 Quick, punctuation-less Internet comments leave plenty of room for things to get lost in translation and taken way out of context. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Fans Accuse Pete Davidson of Being Insensitive on the Anniversary of Ariana Grande's Grandpa's Death," 23 July 2018 Your eye travels straight through, to that punctuation of color. Lisa Cregan, House Beautiful, "Pat Healing's Tips for Decorating with Color," 19 July 2011 As others, including stylists Ann Caruso and Micaela Erlanger, surveyed the setting, a harpist and opera singer provided grandiose entertainment for a refined punctuation on the evening. Vogue, "Hotel Vivier Lands in New York and Opens in Style," 13 Dec. 2018 Analyzing everything from changes in personal style, arm freckle pattern, handwriting, and eye shape, to Avril’s choice of words and punctuation on Twitter, fans have built a serious case for some of kind of switcheroo. Hanna Lustig, Teen Vogue, "Avril Lavigne Called the Doppelgänger Conspiracy Theory About Her Death "So Weird"," 2 Nov. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of punctuation

1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for punctuation

Last Updated

22 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for punctuation

The first known use of punctuation was in 1593

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More Definitions for punctuation



English Language Learners Definition of punctuation

: 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.


punc·​tu·​a·​tion | \ ˌpəŋk-chə-ˈwā-shən How to pronounce punctuation (audio) \

Kids Definition of punctuation

1 : the act of adding punctuation marks to writing
2 : a system of using punctuation marks

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More from Merriam-Webster on punctuation

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with punctuation

Spanish Central: Translation of punctuation

Nglish: Translation of punctuation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of punctuation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about punctuation

Comments on punctuation

What made you want to look up punctuation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to move or proceed with twists and turns

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