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 At some point the Bears would love to put the punctuation on a victory with the offense taking a knee to run out the clock rather than having the defense dodging bullets in the end zone on the game’s final play. Dan Wiederer, chicagotribune.com, "Matt Nagy’s assertion that his team is ‘just OK right now’ is _____. The Chicago Bears really need Khalil Mack to ________.Our writers offer their takes on 4 key topics.," 24 Sep. 2020 While this work produced gorgeous prints of defense industry and aeronautical machinations, Matheny also did his own experiments in small press printing and painting and wooden sculptures of words, letters and punctuation marks. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Remembering San Diegans who passed in 2020," 30 Dec. 2020 As for Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, never trust a safety with more punctuation than punch. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Boy, was I wrong about the 2020 Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, the NBA and NHL restarts, and more," 22 Dec. 2020 On the flat, generic-looking characters, depicted in dull grays, browns, and blues, facial expressions read like paint spattered on a blank canvas, punctuation marks without words. Washington Post, "At the Hirshhorn, six online art videos ask how media shapes memory," 16 Dec. 2020 WhiteSmoke is an excellent writing software that provides you with the most advanced grammar, spelling, punctuation, and style correction, as well as translation for over 50 languages. Popular Science, "Cyber Monday roundup of killer software and apps you want and need," 30 Nov. 2020 In a stream-of-consciousness style, radically lacking any punctuation and written in the bitterly accurate urban vernacular of the era, Adonis’ narration seemed to unmask an underground world. Daniel Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, "Appreciation: Why Luis Zapata’s breakthrough gay Mexican novel demands a new translation," 18 Nov. 2020 The original spelling and punctuation have been preserved. Edith Wharton, The Atlantic, "A Granted Prayer," 9 Nov. 2020 California law limits names to the 26 letters of the English alphabet and certain punctuation like hyphens, apostrophes, periods and commas. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Grimes now goes by 1 letter, says her and Elon Musk's 5-month-old son X Æ A-XII enjoys 'radical art'," 29 Oct. 2020

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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Time Traveler for punctuation

Time Traveler

The first known use of punctuation was in 1593

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Statistics for punctuation

Last Updated

19 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Punctuation.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punctuation. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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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

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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