Main definitions of pounce in English

: pounce1pounce2

pounce1

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1 (of an animal or bird of prey) spring or swoop suddenly so as to catch prey:

    ‘as he watched, a mink pounced on the vole’
    • ‘She hesitated for a moment, and then pounced upon her prey.’
    • ‘He stalks around and pounces and growls and roars if he feels that anyone is a threat to us.’
    • ‘Suddenly, without any warning, the cat pounced on me and dug its claws into the skin of my arm.’
    • ‘Both the beasts pounced on him and began attacking.’
    • ‘I was quite happy with that, so I couldn't believe it when the dog pounced on my dog.’
    • ‘And that's when the lion pounces and starts biting her hip.’
    • ‘Like a living animal, the wood pounced on its prey, wrapping itself around the loathsome wizard.’
    • ‘Like a cat poised to pounce on his prey, he was ready.’
    • ‘But the creature pounces at her, grabs her, and throws her at least a yard away.’
    • ‘He almost screamed when a rat suddenly pounced out of it, squeaking madly.’
    • ‘Every time the butterfly would fly higher the kitten would pounce at the air and end up falling to the ground.’
    • ‘Before you could say ‘Quick, get the binoculars’, the owner's cat pounced.’
    • ‘Then they were woken up by three dogs pouncing onto them.’
    • ‘The creature pounced again, but he avoided it by rolling to one side.’
    • ‘One of the monkeys pounced on a woman holding a child, biting her arm before leaping back into the tree.’
    • ‘The cat pounced on it and took the meat to the back of the bar, under a pool table with a scarred, green felt surface.’
    • ‘The other smuggler tried to run, but the beast pounced on him and raised him into the air.’
    • ‘When a predator pounces, simply escaping in the opposite direction is often the worst option.’
    • ‘A nearby wolf pounced on the bird first and the rodent scuttled to freedom.’
    • ‘The house seemed like a caged tiger ready to pounce on its prey.’
    1. 1.1 (of a person) spring forward suddenly so as to attack or seize someone or something:
      ‘the gang pounced on him and knocked him to the ground’
      • ‘He pounced on the loose ball and sent a blistering shot to the net.’
      • ‘As soon as I open the door, my mom practically pounces on me.’
      • ‘Suddenly her pounced on her and they both went under and came up laughing.’
      • ‘Right there on the stairs he practically pounced on me.’
      • ‘He's not a particularly strong thrower, but he blocks errant pitches well and quickly pounces on bunts.’
      • ‘She pounced on top of him and they both tumbled to the ground.’
      • ‘I wanted to jump up and hug Jimmy tightly, but he already pounced on me.’
      • ‘As we left the courthouse, Hubby and Wifey and their kids pounced on us, hugging us and crying.’
      • ‘When I arrived home my sister practically pounced on me immediately for details.’
      • ‘And it was the same with everyone after that, and when they finally showed up around four, the girls nearly pounced on them.’
      • ‘Then, the other girls pounced on her - howling, high-fiving, and hugging.’
      • ‘When we walked out of the test room, he practically pounced on us.’
      • ‘And it was then that his attacker pounced.’
      • ‘That's when law enforcement agents pounced on him.’
      • ‘You sleep around, break hearts, and then pounce on your next victim.’
      • ‘We were escorted into this dressing room, where all these people pounced on us with cases of make-up and racks of clothing.’
      • ‘Now, imagine being out with a friend, and she suddenly pounces on you.’
      • ‘I practically pounced on them when they arrived.’
      • ‘All I knew was that one moment Mary was sitting next to me, and the next she had pounced on me and was holding me down so that I couldn't move while she kissed me.’
      • ‘That was when a stray assistant pounced on me, to do the ‘can I help?’’
      jump on, spring on, leap on, swoop on, swoop down on, dive at, drop down on, lunge at, bound at, fall on, set on, make a grab for, take by surprise, take unawares, catch off-guard, attack suddenly
      ambush, mug
      jump
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 Notice and take swift advantage of a mistake or sign of weakness:
      ‘the paper pounced on her admission that she is still a member of CND’
      • ‘Just as the crowd were being lulled into a stupor, Scotland pounced in the 23rd minute.’
      • ‘We made the mistake of not leaving ourselves a quick exit and her father pounced on the fact that we were essentially cornered to tell us the entire history of his backyard.’
      • ‘He pounces on every mistake, chews them out after wins if their play isn't up to his standards.’
      • ‘He waits for a pitcher to make a mistake, then pounces.’
      • ‘Not only is the whole world watching our every move but we have an active, independent, free press just waiting to pounce on any mistake this administration makes as well.’
      • ‘But traffic wardens pounced when she parked slightly outside the parking bay.’
      • ‘But he reacted quickly to pounce on the rebound and fire home.’
      • ‘Any lapses in concentration and the Rats will pounce in what should be a close game.’
      • ‘On a third occasion he was hovering behind him as the ball flew into the area, ready to pounce on any mistake.’
      • ‘They were managers I played with who could pounce on a player's weaknesses in a measured, forthright fashion.’
      • ‘Pedants pounce on such tell-tale signs that what purports to be an image of Shakespeare is really an idealised image of the biographer himself.’
      • ‘Competitors are ready to pounce on any weakness.’
      • ‘He gathers his energy, makes a run at a sentence, flags and then pounces on individual words for inappropriate emphasis, swallowing others whole.’
      • ‘During the same period wardens have pounced on more than 1,000 motorists breaking parking or driving laws.’
      • ‘Critics will pounce on their every mistake as evidence that paying teachers for performance is a bad idea.’
      • ‘Thornton pounced on a goalkeeping error to put hosts York ahead in the first half.’
      • ‘Predictably, the Prime Minister has immediately pounced on this, saying no ‘arbitrary date’ has been set.’
      • ‘Then the Tigers pounce on opponents' mistakes.’
      • ‘The visitors lost the ball when trying to clear it though, and Brady pounced on the mistake to pop over a fine point.’
      • ‘She saves both with groundstroke winners, but the Belgian pounces on a third with a backhand return winner.’

noun

  • 1A sudden swoop or spring.

    • ‘With an amazing pounce, we were flying through the air again.’
    • ‘Really and truly it was never going to end in this contest against a home side, who have won their last number of games on the pounce.’
    • ‘With a blood-curdling roar, the Manticore spread its wings and leapt at the Cleric, attempting to floor him with a pounce.’
    • ‘I watched for the animal but it still surprised me with a pounce onto the rock opposite the pond from me.’
    • ‘The demon, full of the momentum of the pounce, tumbled easily through after her.’
    • ‘The time between the pounce and the jump seemed an eternity, although it was only seconds.’
    • ‘He rose up on one knee, then crouched there, body tight, as if tensing for the pounce.’
    • ‘He gave a little pounce up at her, and stood with his front paws through the fence.’
    • ‘Reality came at him like the pounce of a stalking predator.’
    • ‘Intensely intimate couplings, ballistic kicks, feral pounces and feisty rolling hips raise the energy level in his Philadelphia rehearsal studio into the red zone.’
    • ‘The dog, teeth still bared, was suspended in an unmoving pounce.’
    • ‘She sank onto the couch, not quite relaxing, almost like a cat crouching before the pounce.’
    • ‘Seeing this, the three sisters made a pounce at the chairs also, just in case the king thought that they were better off outside.’
    leap, spring, jump, swoop, dive, lunge, bound
    View synonyms
  • 2archaic A bird's claw.

Origin

Late Middle English (as a noun denoting a tool for stamping or punching): origin obscure, perhaps from puncheon. The noun sense ‘a bird's claw’ arose in the late 15th century and gave rise to the verb (late 17th century).

Pronunciation

pounce

/paʊns/

Main definitions of pounce in English

: pounce1pounce2

pounce2

noun

  • 1A fine resinous powder formerly used to prevent ink from spreading on unglazed paper or to prepare parchment to receive writing.

  • 2Powdered charcoal or other fine powder dusted over a perforated pattern to transfer the design to the object beneath.

    • ‘As actual practice can demonstrate, if a pricked design is pounced from its verso, the pounce marks register more distinctly, than if pounced from the recto.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1Smooth down by rubbing with pounce or pumice.

    • ‘The example shown in Plate IX is unusual for its green ground, which was achieved by pouncing the surface with copper oxide while the clay was damp.’
  • 2Transfer (a design) by the use of pounce.

    • ‘Surviving examples of drawings that have been pounced are indeed disfigured by cloudy smears of charcoal dust.’

Origin

Late 16th century (as a verb): from French poncer, based on Latin pumex pumice.

Pronunciation

pounce

/paʊns/