Definition of piercing in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈpirsiNG/


1(Of eyes or a look) appearing to see through someone; searching: he stared at me with those piercing eyes
More example sentences
  • His piercing eyes searched the ceiling, perhaps for an enemy or another of its kind.
  • Each day she floated down the hall with an armload of books as her piercing eyes searched out the quickest way to class.
  • He dove under again, searching with piercing eyes for the girl, his mind besieged with frenzied thoughts.
1.1(Of a voice or sound) extremely high, loud, or shrill: she let out a piercing scream
More example sentences
  • It was a loud and piercing sound that filled the entire room.
  • She covered her ears with the piercing sound of shattering glass.
  • Jim followed, his eyes still watering from the piercing sound of that chair screaming across the hardwood floor.
shrill, ear-splitting, high-pitched, penetrating, strident, loud
1.2(Of wind or extreme temperature) seeming to cut through one: the piercing cold
More example sentences
  • It snowed on and off all day and a cold piercing wind blew down the streets, along the canyons between the city's skyscrapers.
  • Suddenly, the temperature made a drop from warm to freezing, as the plants around her froze and the gust of wind became a piercing gale.
  • At night, I was awakened by the piercing wind and burrowed under the quilt to escape the cold.
bitter, biting, cutting, penetrating, sharp, keen, stinging, raw;
freezing, frigid, glacial, arctic, chill
1.3(Of a feeling) affecting one keenly or deeply.
Example sentences
  • I yelled and wiggled, but I couldn't stop the piercing feeling from growing more intense.
  • A painful piercing feeling went through my heart when she did that.
  • She pronounced it with venomous, piercing rage, like a vulture pouncing on its prey, and then she threw her cup against the wall.
intense, excruciating, agonizing, sharp, stabbing, shooting, stinging, severe, extreme, fierce, searing, racking
1.4(Of mental attributes) sharp; profound: her piercing analysis
More example sentences
  • He does, and it's what leads him to some very fine insights and piercing analyses.
  • His eyes were keen, their piercing gaze complementing the wisdom behind them.
  • He leaves the piercing insights for another day though.
searching, probing, penetrating, penetrative, shrewd, sharp, keen
perceptive, percipient, perspicacious, penetrating, discerning, discriminating, intelligent, quick-witted, sharp, sharp-witted, shrewd, insightful, keen, acute, astute, clever, smart, incisive, razor-edged, trenchant


1A small hole in a part of the body, typically other than the ears, made so as to insert a ring, stud, or other piece of jewelry: this is the place to get your tattoo or piercing done
More example sentences
  • Off he strolled down the drive, the silver rings and studs in his facial piercings sparkling cheerfully.
  • Body piercers who carry out piercings other than to ears still have to comply with workplace health and safety regulations, she adds.
  • She had two piercings in each ear and in the holes she wore hoops with a Celtic design and balls in the middle.
1.1A ring, stud, or other piece of jewelry worn in a pierced part of the body: two months ago, I decided to take out all my piercings
More example sentences
  • She showcased her lean physique in the skimpy crochet two-piece - flashing a belly button piercing.
  • Melanie shared a picture of herself without any make-up on as well as some new piercings.
  • She kept her accessories to a minimum, save for a belly-button piercing and a light pink tote which she kept next to her sun lounger.



Pronunciation: /ˈpirsiNGlē/
Example sentences
  • As Samuel Johnson piercingly observed, ‘Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier.’
  • The inscription shone piercingly bright, and yet remote, as if out of a great depth.
  • Neil has a piercingly direct focus and a generous smile.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: pierc·ing

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