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[puhngk-choo-eyt] /ˈpʌŋk tʃuˌeɪt/
verb (used with object), punctuated, punctuating.
to mark or divide (something written) with punctuation marks in order to make the meaning clear.
to interrupt at intervals:
Cheers punctuated the mayor's speech.
to give emphasis or force to; emphasize; underline.
verb (used without object), punctuated, punctuating.
to insert or use marks of punctuation.
1625-35; < Medieval Latin pūnctuātus (past participle of pūnctuāre to point), derivative of Latin pūnctus a pricking; see punctual
Related forms
punctuator, noun
nonpunctuating, adjective
repunctuate, verb (used with object), repunctuated, repunctuating.
unpunctuated, adjective
unpunctuating, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for punctuated
  • Similar clauses introduced by where and when are similarly punctuated.
  • These high-country campsites are tucked into a densely forested valley punctuated with wild-flowers and aspens.
  • But a number of specific themes have punctuated their discourse, lending it an incipient plausibility and coherence.
  • Its centerpiece is a narrow pool of water punctuated by lotus-shaped fountains.
  • These in turn fade into tall forests of pine and birch, punctuated by meadows and timeless villages of log houses.
  • The collection grew gradually, punctuated by periods of exponential growth due to technological innovation.
  • The walk will take you through high mountains and pine forests frequently punctuated by clear streams and pools.
  • The jumble of large gray bodies punctuated by pink eyes and ears made for a compelling image.
  • We squinted together at a gray field of small print punctuated by subheads in boldface.
  • Respectful thousands hear an agonizing silence, punctuated with little heaving gulps.
British Dictionary definitions for punctuated


verb (mainly transitive)
(also intransitive) to insert punctuation marks into (a written text)
to interrupt or insert at frequent intervals: a meeting punctuated by heckling
to give emphasis to
Derived Forms
punctuator, noun
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin punctuāre to prick, from Latin punctum a prick, from pungere to puncture
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for punctuated



1630s, "to point out," from Medieval Latin punctuatus, past participle of punctuare, from Latin punctus (see point (n.)). Meaning in reference to text, "to have pauses or stops indicated," is from 1818, probably a back-formation from punctuation. Hence, "interrupted at intervals" (1833). Related: Punctuated; punctuating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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