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piercing

[peer-sing] /ˈpɪər sɪŋ/
adjective
1.
loud or shrill, as the quality of a voice.
2.
extremely cold or bitter:
a piercing wind.
3.
appearing to gaze deeply or penetratingly into something:
piercing eyes.
4.
perceptive or aware; acute:
a piercing mind.
5.
sarcastic or caustic; cutting:
piercing remarks.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English; see pierce, -ing2
Related forms
piercingly, adverb
piercingness, noun
unpiercing, adjective
Synonyms
1. grating, strident, screeching.

pierce

[peers] /pɪərs/
verb (used with object), pierced, piercing.
1.
to penetrate into or run through (something), as a sharp, pointed dagger, object, or instrument does.
2.
to make a hole or opening in.
3.
to bore into or through; tunnel.
4.
to perforate.
5.
to make (a hole, opening, etc.) by or as by boring or perforating.
6.
to make a way or path into or through:
a road that pierces the dense jungle.
7.
to penetrate with the eye or mind; see into or through:
She couldn't pierce his thoughts.
8.
to affect sharply with some sensation or emotion, as of cold, pain, or grief:
The wind pierced her body. Her words pierced our hearts.
9.
to sound sharply through (the air, stillness, etc.):
A pistol shot pierced the night.
verb (used without object), pierced, piercing.
10.
to force or make a way into or through something; penetrate:
to pierce to the heart.
Origin
1250-1300; Middle English percen < Old French perc(i)er < Vulgar Latin *pertūsiāre, verbal derivative of Latin pertūsus, past participle of pertundere to bore a hole through, perforate, equivalent to per- per- + tundere to strike, beat
Related forms
pierceable, adjective
piercer, noun
unpierceable, adjective
Synonyms
1. enter, puncture. Pierce, penetrate suggest the action of one object passing through another or making a way through and into another. The terms are used both concretely and figuratively. To pierce is to perforate quickly, as by stabbing; it suggests the use of a sharp, pointed instrument which is impelled by force: to pierce the flesh with a knife; a scream pierces one's ears. Penetrate suggests a slow or difficult movement: No ordinary bullet can penetrate an elephant's hide; to penetrate the depths of one's ignorance. 8. touch, move, strike, thrill.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for piercing
  • Some people say their heritage makes piercing meaningful.
  • We know about your whole piercing debate with your family.
  • Witnesses spoke of his piercing blue eyes, smart clothes, easy charm and swagger.
  • His piercing eyes were set in a deeply creased, mahogany face.
  • Science is about immersing ourselves in piercing uncertainty while struggling with the deepest of mysteries.
  • But the situation can be quite different when it comes to this craze: body piercing.
  • The train blasts out a shrill whistle which my nephew imitates intermittently for the next couple of hours with piercing accuracy.
  • She tried to hide the piercing from her parents by not talking, but they figured it out.
  • Shown here is a high-speed video in his lab of a bullet piercing eggs.
  • The tongue piercing one confirms many deeply held suspicions.
British Dictionary definitions for piercing

piercing

/ˈpɪəsɪŋ/
adjective
1.
(of a sound) sharp and shrill
2.
(of eyes or a look) intense and penetrating
3.
(of an emotion) strong and deeply affecting
4.
(of cold or wind) intense or biting
noun
5.
the art or practice of piercing body parts for the insertion of jewellery
6.
an instance of the piercing of a body part
Derived Forms
piercingly, adverb

pierce

/pɪəs/
verb (mainly transitive)
1.
to form or cut (a hole) in (something) with or as if with a sharp instrument
2.
to thrust into or penetrate sharply or violently the thorn pierced his heel
3.
to force (a way, route, etc) through (something)
4.
(of light) to shine through or penetrate (darkness)
5.
(also intransitive) to discover or realize (something) suddenly or (of an idea) to become suddenly apparent
6.
(of sounds or cries) to sound sharply through (the silence)
7.
to move or affect (a person's emotions, bodily feelings, etc) deeply or sharply the cold pierced their bones
8.
(intransitive) to penetrate or be capable of penetrating piercing cold
Derived Forms
pierceable, adjective
piercer, noun
Word Origin
C13 percen, from Old French percer, ultimately from Latin pertundere, from per through + tundere to strike

Pierce

/pɪəs/
noun
1.
Franklin. 1804–69, US statesman; 14th president of the US (1853–57)
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 piercing
pierce
c.1300, from Anglo-Fr. perser, O.Fr. percier (11c.), probably from V.L. *pertusiare, freq. of L. pertusus, pp. of pertundere "to thrust or bore through," from per- "through" + tundere "to beat, pound," from PIE base *(s)tud- "to beat, strike, push, thrust" (see obtuse). Piercing in ref. to cold, sound, etc. is recorded from early 15c.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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