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 After gathering the data, the software program processes it and applies grammar, sentence structure, punctuation and other language rules. Shane Barker, Forbes, 24 June 2022 Just as with the Week 1483 contest for this year’s Triple Crown nominees, a name may not exceed 18 characters including spaces, but those characters may include punctuation and numerals. Washington Post, 5 May 2022 That feminist nod is but a punctuation point in a story that bemoans the suffering caused by atavistic patterns of aggrieved and insecure men seeking to prove their worth by fighting, raping and taking. Washington Post, 20 Apr. 2022 Bob did not edit in quite this way, toward expansion, being rather more interested in the actual prose—infelicities of speech or grammar, uses and misuses of punctuation. Daniel Drake, The New York Review of Books, 19 Feb. 2022 The four states are divided on the proper punctuation. Orlando Mayorquin, USA TODAY, 15 Apr. 2022 All the keys except the numpad, navigation cluster, function row, number row, and some punctuation marks. Scharon Harding, Ars Technica, 28 Mar. 2022 The following one-star reviews on Google and TripAdvisor have been edited for length but not spelling or punctuation to preserve their authenticity. Timothy Fanning, San Antonio Express-News, 11 Mar. 2022 Tell it in a modernist sensory rush with the punctuation falling away. Parul Sehgal, The New Yorker, 27 Dec. 2021 See More

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, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for punctuation

Time Traveler

The first known use of punctuation was in 1593

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Dictionary Entries Near punctuation

punctuated equilibrium



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Statistics for punctuation

Last Updated

1 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Punctuation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctuation. Accessed 1 Jul. 2022.

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More Definitions for punctuation


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

More from Merriam-Webster on punctuation

Nglish: Translation of punctuation for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of punctuation for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about punctuation


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