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piercing Line breaks: pier|cing
Pronunciation: /ˈpɪəsɪŋ/

Definition of piercing in English:


1Having or showing shrewdness or keen intelligence: her piercing analysis a tall blonde with piercing eyes
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.
1.1(Of a sound) extremely high or loud: 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-piercing, ear-splitting, high-pitched, air-rending, penetrating, shattering, strident, loud, strong;
sharp, intrusive, screechy, squawky
1.2(Of wind or extreme cold) seeming to cut through one: the piercing cold of winter
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.
freezing, frosty, frigid, chill, chilling, glacial, arctic, wintry, sharp, keen, biting, stinging, cutting, penetrating, numbing, harsh, fierce, raw, bitter
British informal parky
rare nipping
1.3(Of a feeling) intense, typically in a distressing way: I recall one moment of piercing sadness
More 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, harrowing, searing, penetrating, racking, insufferable, unbearable, unendurable, torturous
rare exquisite


(usually piercings) Back to top  
Holes in parts of the body, typically other than the ears, made so as to wear rings, studs, or other jewellery in them: she had piercings in her nose, eyebrow, and tongue
More example sentences
  • And off he strolled down the drive, the silver rings and studs in his facial piercings sparkling cheerfully.
  • Avoid flashy jewelry and visible body piercings, such as nose or eyebrow rings.
  • Daryl, who now sports 22 body piercings, said barely an hour after his ordeal that it had not been painful.


Pronunciation: /ˈpɪəsɪŋli/
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.
Definition of piercing in:
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