Definition of piercing in English:

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piercing

Pronunciation: /ˈpirsiNG/

adjective

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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
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.
Synonyms
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

noun

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.

Derivatives

piercingly

Pronunciation: /ˈpirsiNGlē/
adverb
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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