Definition of pierce in English:

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Pronunciation: /pɪəs/


[with object]
1(Of a sharp pointed object) go into or through (something): a splinter had pierced the skin
More example sentences
  • As soon as she touched it, she felt a sharp splinter pierce her thumb.
  • Once the skins are removed, pierce a cross shape in the root ends with the tip of a sharp knife - this will keep the shallots whole as they cook.
  • She bit her lip, digging her sharp canine into the soft skin, piercing it all the harder as she lapsed into deeper thought.
1.1Make (a hole) with a sharp instrument: I had to pierce another hole in my belt
More example sentences
  • Transfer to a wire rack and pierce a tiny hole in each gougère using a sharp knife, to release any trapped steam.
  • The holes would be pierced right through all the sheets.
  • Rain bars are long tubes pierced with spray holes.
1.2Make a hole in (the ears or other part of the body) so as to wear jewellery in them: (as adjective pierced) a punk with a pierced nose
More example sentences
  • Both ears were pierced, but she wore no earrings.
  • She had pierced ears but wore neither studs nor earrings and there was no jewellery.
  • There is a scene in which he must pierce her ears to wear the borrowed earring, and it is shockingly erotic.
1.3Make an opening in or bore a tunnel through: the dividing wall is pierced by arches
More example sentences
  • Their die-straight tunnels pierce the most awesome rock barriers nonchalantly.
  • An irregular elongated window pierces the massive back wall.
  • When it was built, the south church was constructed against the south wall of the earlier nuns' chapel, which was later pierced by arches.
2Force a way through; penetrate: they were seeking to pierce the anti-ballistic-missile defences a shrill voice pierced the air
More example sentences
  • Her voice pierced the Fire Master's ears, sending sparks of fury through his body.
  • Similar displays contrived by architects occur on almost any sunny day inside many cathedrals, when the sun pierces the highest windows and a thousand rays gleam down on the altar.
  • The continuous clicking of shutters pierced the icy Alpine air.
penetrate, pass through, burst through, percolate, pervade, permeate, filter through, light up


pierce someone's heart

Affect someone keenly or deeply: pure love had pierced her heart I felt pierced to the heart, dejected and lonely
More example sentences
  • Even when reduced to tears, he doesn't pierce your heart.
  • But there's no way he could convey to us what he felt and what anguish and anxiety was piercing his heart.
  • Today, however, she said something that just pierced my heart.


Middle English: from Old French percer, based on Latin pertus- 'bored through', from the verb pertundere, from per 'through' + tundere 'thrust'.

Words that rhyme with pierce

Bierce, fierce, Pearce, Peirce, tierce

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: pierce

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