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Borrowed from Medieval Latin punctuare (to mark with points), from Latin punctus, perfect passive participle of pungō (I prick, punch); see point, and compare punch and punctate.



punctuate (third-person singular simple present punctuates, present participle punctuating, simple past and past participle punctuated)

  1. (transitive) To add punctuation to.
    That occurrence of "its" needs to be punctuated as "it's".
  2. (transitive) To add or to interrupt at regular intervals.
    My father punctuated his tirade with thumps on the desk.
    • 2020 October 15, Frank Pasquale, “‘Machines set loose to slaughter’: the dangerous rise of military AI”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Most soldiers would testify that the everyday experience of war is long stretches of boredom punctuated by sudden, terrifying spells of disorder.
  3. (transitive) To emphasize; to stress.

Related terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.

Further reading[edit]




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of pūnctuō