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pounce1

[pouns] /paʊns/
verb (used without object), pounced, pouncing.
1.
to swoop down suddenly and grasp, as a bird does in seizing its prey.
2.
to spring, dash, or come suddenly:
Unexpectedly she pounced on the right answer.
verb (used with object), pounced, pouncing.
3.
to seize (prey) suddenly:
The bird quickly pounced its prey.
noun
4.
the claw or talon of a bird of prey.
5.
a sudden swoop, as on an object of prey.
Origin
late Middle English
1375-1425
1375-1425; late Middle English; perhaps akin to punch1
Related forms
pouncingly, adverb
Synonyms
5. leap, lunge, spring.

pounce2

[pouns] /paʊns/
verb (used with object), pounced, pouncing.
1.
to emboss (metal) by hammering on an instrument applied on the reverse side.
Origin
1350-1400; Middle English; perhaps identical with pounce1

pounce3

[pouns] /paʊns/
noun
1.
a fine powder, as of cuttlebone, formerly used to prevent ink from spreading in writing, or to prepare parchment for writing.
2.
a fine powder, often of charcoal, used in transferring a design through a perforated pattern.
3.
Also called pounce bag, pounce box. a small bag filled with pounce and struck against a perforated design.
verb (used with object), pounced, pouncing.
4.
to sprinkle, smooth, or prepare with pounce.
5.
to trace (a design) with pounce.
6.
to finish the surface of (hats) by rubbing with sandpaper or the like.
Origin
1700-10; < French ponceLatin pūmicem, accusative of pūmex pumice
Related forms
pouncer, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for pounce
  • We all know the power of waiting quietly for the right moment to pounce upon an opportunity.
  • In the opening cinematic they laughed when my pathetic pooch tried to pounce on them.
  • He is as patient as a tiger, no pounce without prey.
  • To reach more dangerous areas, the vaccinators wait for a gap in the fighting, and then pounce.
  • Apart from a propensity to pounce on prey, cats' aloof elegance has long made them the choice for animal companionship.
  • When he sits on the edge of a sofa in his downstairs office, he looks ready to pounce.
  • But for the bravest inventors and entrepreneurs, conditions are ideal to pounce on a business opportunity.
  • But if you decide to stay, it pays to think before you pounce.
  • The plane dropped him in a third country, leaving the spies to pounce on thin air.
  • If the eel decides to pounce the fish may soon be snared by not one but two sets of toothy jaws.
British Dictionary definitions for pounce

pounce1

/paʊns/
verb
1.
(intransitive; often foll by on or upon) to spring or swoop, as in capturing prey
noun
2.
the act of pouncing; a spring or swoop
3.
the claw of a bird of prey
Derived Forms
pouncer, noun
Word Origin
C17: apparently from Middle English punson pointed tool; see puncheon²

pounce2

/paʊns/
verb
1.
(transitive) to emboss (metal) by hammering from the reverse side
Word Origin
C15 pounsen, from Old French poinçonner to stamp; perhaps the same as pounce1

pounce3

/paʊns/
noun
1.
a very fine resinous powder, esp of cuttlefish bone, formerly used to dry ink or sprinkled over parchment or unsized writing paper to stop the ink from running
2.
a fine powder, esp of charcoal, that is tapped through perforations in paper corresponding to the main lines of a design in order to transfer the design to another surface
3.
(as modifier): a pounce box
verb (transitive)
4.
to dust (paper) with pounce
5.
to transfer (a design) by means of pounce
Derived Forms
pouncer, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Old French ponce, from Latin pūmexpumice
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for pounce
v.

1680s, originally "to seize with the pounces," from Middle English pownse (n.) "hawk's claw" (see pounce (n.)). Meaning "to jump or fall upon suddenly" is from 1812. Figurative sense of "lay hold of eagerly" is from 1840. Related: Pounced; pouncing.

n.

"claw of a bird of prey," late 15c., pownse, probably from Old French ponchon "lance, javelin; spine, quill" (Modern French poinçon; see punch (v.)). So called for being the "claws that punch" holes in things. In falconry, the heel claw is a talon, and others are pounces. Meaning "an act of jumping or falling upon" is from 1825. In Middle English also the name of a tool for punching holes or embossing metal (late 14c.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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