Definition of piercing in English:



  • 1Having or showing shrewdness or keen intelligence.

    ‘her piercing analysis’
    ‘a tall blonde with piercing eyes’
    • ‘I am grateful to an unknown referee whose piercing comment on an earlier version of the paper greatly simplified the proof.’
    • ‘Shaking with fear the President broke the intense silent with a piercing question.’
    • ‘She looked to be in her early thirties, long blonde hair and intelligent, piercing green eyes.’
    • ‘I remove my own sunglasses and give her a piercing glare, though it rarely has any affect on her.’
    • ‘When he laughed a bit nervously, she took it as an insult and with a piercing glare asked if he was the reason her daddy wasn't allowed to live here.’
    • ‘You'll know when you're sat opposite a Scorpio; they'll be holding their knife a little too tightly and pinning you with a deep, piercing gaze.’
    • ‘He does, and it's what leads him to some very fine insights and piercing analyses.’
    • ‘What struck him though was the piercing gaze of the other.’
    • ‘I bet he watched this fine, piercing interview with a sinking heart.’
    • ‘A piercing insight and egoless clarity in the assessment of his own future reinstalled his cricketing career once again.’
    • ‘This is a piercing analysis of political currents and an epic tragedy filled with fascinating characters and antagonisms and beliefs that divided the nation.’
    • ‘His eyes were keen, their piercing gaze complementing the wisdom behind them.’
    • ‘His black leather trench coat billowing out behind him as his piercing blue-eyes seemed deep in thought.’
    • ‘With its piercing insights into the human condition, Ecstasy is an actor's paradise.’
    • ‘That piercing insight is not included in her Critical Editions though it is implicit in the pages reprinted from her own perceptive book.’
    • ‘He leaves the piercing insights for another day though.’
    shrewd, discerning, perceptive, probing, searching, observant, penetrating, penetrative, sharp, keen, alert, intent, inquisitive
    perceptive, percipient, perspicacious, penetrating, discerning, discriminating, intelligent, quick-witted, sharp, sharp-witted, shrewd, insightful, keen, acute, astute, clever, smart, incisive, knife-like, razor-edged, trenchant, subtle, quick, ready, clear, sensitive, thoughtful, deep, profound
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    1. 1.1(of a sound) extremely high or loud.
      ‘she let out a piercing scream’
      • ‘She and the guys turned to go, their peaceful silence only to be interrupted by a loud, piercing scream.’
      • ‘Then his ears picked up another sound, a piercing sound that ran shivers down the entire length of his body.’
      • ‘A loud, piercing scream escaped her as she saw his face contort into a wild look of determination.’
      • ‘The trio was having some pleasant talk about the house when suddenly a loud piercing scream filled the house.’
      • ‘It was a loud and piercing sound that filled the entire room.’
      • ‘The sharp, piercing shriek of the morning bell sounded in from within the school building, echoing through the campus.’
      • ‘One of them had a voice so loud and piercing that you could hear him from one end of the carriage to the other.’
      • ‘I opened my window, a piercing sound in the almost complete silence.’
      • ‘Abruptly he stopped, the sharp, piercing cry of a bird reaching his hearing.’
      • ‘It was a split second before the piercing sound broke the air.’
      • ‘Jerry and I were in the house alone and I'd just fallen asleep, when I was awakened by a loud piercing scream.’
      • ‘Jim followed, his eyes still watering from the piercing sound of that chair screaming across the hardwood floor.’
      • ‘Soon enough, the boat's whistle began to blow an eerie piercing sound as the water vehicle began moving.’
      • ‘Suddenly startled, it flew away as the piercing sound of the bell rang out.’
      • ‘Bronwyn stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled, a high, piercing sound.’
      • ‘He was cut off in mid-sentence by a loud and piercing scream from the rear of the wagon.’
      • ‘Not long after the sun rose, a piercing sound went off in Faith's ears.’
      • ‘The sharp, piercing wail of the alarm shattered her dream and woke her abruptly from her sleep.’
      • ‘No more though, they began to cry for mercy as the school collectively recoiled from the piercing sound that had broken the silence.’
      • ‘She covered her ears with the piercing sound of shattering glass.’
      shrill, ear-piercing, ear-splitting, high-pitched, air-rending, penetrating, shattering, strident, loud, strong
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    2. 1.2(of wind or extreme cold) seeming to cut through one.
      ‘the piercing cold of winter’
      • ‘He imagined being in the coyote's fur - the piercing cold made him wish even stronger.’
      • ‘They were all treading through ankle-deep snow in the lot, holding their jackets up to their necks against the piercing gale.’
      • ‘As I opened the door, the strong piercing cold, and the rain, stung me in the face.’
      • ‘When we went out the first time, a piercing wind had whipped the tops off the crashing waves to send biting showers of stinging sea water at us.’
      • ‘However, as I like being in the open, later on I return to the stern, which was the only place to escape the piercing wind.’
      • ‘Uncaring, the piercing gusts of air sullied his racked frame, and his head pounded with fatigue.’
      • ‘At night, I was awakened by the piercing wind and burrowed under the quilt to escape the cold.’
      • ‘Outside the hut the wind has got up, a strong piercing wind.’
      • ‘It took me just one step out to be confronted with piercing wind and the black hostile waves of the North Sea a mere hundred yards away.’
      • ‘Angel managed to find an outcropping of stone to protect her from the piercing, howling wind.’
      • ‘Shutting her mind as tightly as she could, she folded up into a ball and began to shiver uncontrollably in the piercing, soul-biting cold.’
      • ‘It snowed on and off all day and a cold piercing wind blew down the streets, along the canyons between the city's skyscrapers.’
      • ‘She lay sprawled out across the flagstones relishing the piercing cold and the blistering heat.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It came out cold, a piercing cold that can freeze you solid in your tracks.’
      • ‘Suddenly, all around her, the flames froze, and a piercing wind built up.’
      • ‘Her lungs felt heavy from the exercise and her throat ached each time she took a breath of the cold, piercing air.’
      • ‘It is an enterprise that is always on the job, rain or shine, dry heat or piercing cold.’
      • ‘The weather conditions were quite abysmal with the piercing cold and rain testing the stamina and endurance of all players and panel members.’
      • ‘After a little while, he put the book away and slipped his jacket back on against the piercing chill of the wind.’
      freezing, frosty, frigid, chill, chilling, glacial, arctic, wintry, sharp, keen, biting, stinging, cutting, penetrating, numbing, harsh, fierce, raw, bitter
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    3. 1.3(of a feeling) intense, typically in a distressing way.
      ‘I recall one moment of piercing sadness’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even then he had responded emotionally, as he would assert, to the deep, piercing sadness of the music.’
      • ‘Padlin recognized the kid and a cold flash ran through him, a piercing sense of panic.’
      • ‘Both babies screamed together, the same pitch, the same sound, the same abrupt, piercing terror and pain.’
      • ‘Besides, he was a refreshing reminder that gentlemen do indeed still exist in the world, which you know has been a piercing fear of mine.’
      • ‘That cold, piercing fear. It could come quickly or slowly, brought on by who knows what.’
      • ‘On a more intellectual level, he felt a piercing fear that he would only hurt her by drawing her close, that to even be near him was draining her very essence away.’
      • ‘Our daughter was just waking up and seeing her face that morning struck a piercing fear in me.’
      • ‘Amanda woke in darkness and for an electrified moment lay perfectly still, roused abruptly from a profound sleep by such piercing terror that she was completely disoriented.’
      • ‘Then a piercing panic hit me: What if the lawyers found this broken glass? Of course they'd suspect foul play.’
      • ‘The D minor Quartet is by far the most tragic of the six, with a piercing sadness that sometimes borders on gloominess.’
      • ‘By reading this book, you'll get an introduction to the hilarious irony of his day-to-day situations, the piercing sadness of his struggle, and the amazing strength he shows in everything he does.’
      • ‘She pronounced it with venomous, piercing rage, like a vulture pouncing on its prey, and then she threw her cup against the wall.’
      • ‘She felt the piercing sting of humiliation and her heart being broken and torn apart like some fragile letter.’
      intense, excruciating, agonizing, sharp, stabbing, shooting, stinging, severe, extreme, fierce, harrowing, searing, penetrating, racking, insufferable, unbearable, unendurable, torturous
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  • 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 jewellery.

    ‘this is the place to get your tattoo or piercing done’
    • ‘Body piercers who carry out piercings other than to ears still have to comply with workplace health and safety regulations, she adds.’
    • ‘He said more should be done to stop piercings being carried out in non-sterile environments, such as fashion shops.’
    • ‘She explained that she had put together the aftercare bags to ensure people used the right products for all their piercings.’
    • ‘Off he strolled down the drive, the silver rings and studs in his facial piercings sparkling cheerfully.’
    • ‘He said he would conduct about six piercings in an average week, the majority of those being bellybuttons.’
    • ‘Funnily enough though, it's not the pain that stops me from getting a piercing.’
    • ‘He doesn't have so many piercings or tattoos, but he wears a lot of black.’
    • ‘She had two piercings in each ear and in the holes she wore hoops with a Celtic design and balls in the middle.’
    1. 1.1A ring, stud, or other piece of jewellery worn in a pierced part of the body.
      ‘two months ago, I decided to take out all my piercings’
      • ‘She showcased her lean physique in the skimpy crochet two-piece - flashing a belly button piercing.’
      • ‘He wore a dark suit and dark sunglasses, but still had on his nose rings and other piercings.’
      • ‘I can easily take my ear piercings out if required and then I look very ordinary.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Melanie shared a picture of herself without any make-up on as well as some new piercings.’
      • ‘However, Christian was not long for the job after one of his managers told him that he had to remove his piercings while at work.’
      • ‘For the movie, she gained weight, cut off her hair, wore piercings and lived in a shelter for three weeks.’