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.’
    • ‘Before you could say ‘Quick, get the binoculars’, the owner's cat pounced.’
    • ‘Suddenly, without any warning, the cat pounced on me and dug its claws into the skin of my arm.’
    • ‘He stalks around and pounces and growls and roars if he feels that anyone is a threat to us.’
    • ‘And that's when the lion pounces and starts biting her hip.’
    • ‘Both the beasts pounced on him and began attacking.’
    • ‘Then they were woken up by three dogs pouncing onto them.’
    • ‘He almost screamed when a rat suddenly pounced out of it, squeaking madly.’
    • ‘The house seemed like a caged tiger ready to pounce on its prey.’
    • ‘When a predator pounces, simply escaping in the opposite direction is often the worst option.’
    • ‘Like a living animal, the wood pounced on its prey, wrapping itself around the loathsome wizard.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A nearby wolf pounced on the bird first and the rodent scuttled to freedom.’
    • ‘Every time the butterfly would fly higher the kitten would pounce at the air and end up falling to the ground.’
    • ‘I was quite happy with that, so I couldn't believe it when the dog pounced on my dog.’
    • ‘One of the monkeys pounced on a woman holding a child, biting her arm before leaping back into the tree.’
    • ‘Like a cat poised to pounce on his prey, he was ready.’
    • ‘The other smuggler tried to run, but the beast pounced on him and raised him into the air.’
    • ‘The creature pounced again, but he avoided it by rolling to one side.’
    • ‘But the creature pounces at her, grabs her, and throws her at least a yard away.’
    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’
      • ‘Suddenly her pounced on her and they both went under and came up laughing.’
      • ‘She pounced on top of him and they both tumbled to the ground.’
      • ‘Now, imagine being out with a friend, and she suddenly pounces on you.’
      • ‘Right there on the stairs he practically pounced on me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That was when a stray assistant pounced on me, to do the ‘can I help?’’
      • ‘When we walked out of the test room, he practically pounced on us.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I wanted to jump up and hug Jimmy tightly, but he already pounced on me.’
      • ‘As soon as I open the door, my mom practically pounces on me.’
      • ‘When I arrived home my sister practically pounced on me immediately for details.’
      • ‘As we left the courthouse, Hubby and Wifey and their kids pounced on us, hugging us and crying.’
      • ‘That's when law enforcement agents pounced on him.’
      • ‘I practically pounced on them when they arrived.’
      • ‘We were escorted into this dressing room, where all these people pounced on us with cases of make-up and racks of clothing.’
      • ‘He pounced on the loose ball and sent a blistering shot to the net.’
      • ‘And it was then that his attacker pounced.’
      • ‘He's not a particularly strong thrower, but he blocks errant pitches well and quickly pounces on bunts.’
      • ‘You sleep around, break hearts, and then pounce on your next victim.’
      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
      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’
      • ‘But traffic wardens pounced when she parked slightly outside the parking bay.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were managers I played with who could pounce on a player's weaknesses in a measured, forthright fashion.’
      • ‘Any lapses in concentration and the Rats will pounce in what should be a close game.’
      • ‘The visitors lost the ball when trying to clear it though, and Brady pounced on the mistake to pop over a fine point.’
      • ‘Thornton pounced on a goalkeeping error to put hosts York ahead in the first half.’
      • ‘He pounces on every mistake, chews them out after wins if their play isn't up to his standards.’
      • ‘During the same period wardens have pounced on more than 1,000 motorists breaking parking or driving laws.’
      • ‘Then the Tigers pounce on opponents' mistakes.’
      • ‘He gathers his energy, makes a run at a sentence, flags and then pounces on individual words for inappropriate emphasis, swallowing others whole.’
      • ‘Just as the crowd were being lulled into a stupor, Scotland pounced in the 23rd minute.’
      • ‘But he reacted quickly to pounce on the rebound and fire home.’
      • ‘She saves both with groundstroke winners, but the Belgian pounces on a third with a backhand return winner.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Predictably, the Prime Minister has immediately pounced on this, saying no ‘arbitrary date’ has been set.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Critics will pounce on their every mistake as evidence that paying teachers for performance is a bad idea.’
      • ‘On a third occasion he was hovering behind him as the ball flew into the area, ready to pounce on any mistake.’
      • ‘He waits for a pitcher to make a mistake, then pounces.’
      • ‘Competitors are ready to pounce on any weakness.’

noun

  • 1A sudden swoop or spring.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘With an amazing pounce, we were flying through the air again.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He rose up on one knee, then crouched there, body tight, as if tensing for the pounce.’
    • ‘Intensely intimate couplings, ballistic kicks, feral pounces and feisty rolling hips raise the energy level in his Philadelphia rehearsal studio into the red zone.’
    • ‘Seeing this, the three sisters made a pounce at the chairs also, just in case the king thought that they were better off outside.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The time between the pounce and the jump seemed an eternity, although it was only seconds.’
    • ‘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.’
    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

mass 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/