Definition of piercing in US English:

piercing

adjective

  • 1(of mental attributes) sharp; profound.

    ‘her piercing analysis’
    • ‘This is a piercing analysis of political currents and an epic tragedy filled with fascinating characters and antagonisms and beliefs that divided the nation.’
    • ‘With its piercing insights into the human condition, Ecstasy is an actor's paradise.’
    • ‘A piercing insight and egoless clarity in the assessment of his own future reinstalled his cricketing career once again.’
    • ‘What struck him though was the piercing gaze of the other.’
    • ‘He does, and it's what leads him to some very fine insights and piercing analyses.’
    • ‘I remove my own sunglasses and give her a piercing glare, though it rarely has any affect on her.’
    • ‘That piercing insight is not included in her Critical Editions though it is implicit in the pages reprinted from her own perceptive book.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He leaves the piercing insights for another day though.’
    • ‘His black leather trench coat billowing out behind him as his piercing blue-eyes seemed deep in thought.’
    • ‘I bet he watched this fine, piercing interview with a sinking heart.’
    • ‘She looked to be in her early thirties, long blonde hair and intelligent, piercing green eyes.’
    • ‘His eyes were keen, their piercing gaze complementing the wisdom behind them.’
    • ‘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.’
    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 eyes or a look) appearing to see through someone; searching.
      ‘he stared at me with those piercing eyes’
      • ‘Nicole tried to look at the jurors, but their piercing eyes seemed to see right in to her mind, so she looked out at the crowd.’
      • ‘His piercing eyes searched the ceiling, perhaps for an enemy or another of its kind.’
      • ‘The piercing look in her dazzling green eyes seemed to be challenging me.’
      • ‘As he looked into her piercing eyes, he blushed profusely and began stammering.’
      • ‘He looked just like the pictures: the long-ish hair, piercing eyes, and the downturned mouth.’
      • ‘She was reserved around me since I arrived and she gave me this strange piercing look during dinner, so I didn't know how to react.’
      • ‘He stood there silently, and looked at me with piercing eyes, as if assessing my worth.’
      • ‘At the onset of such words, he looked at her with eyes of devastating malice, piercing eyes.’
      • ‘Alexander looked down at me with suddenly piercing eyes.’
      • ‘He glanced over at her then, and she could feel those piercing eyes looking her up and down, taking her in, before he turned to gaze out the window again.’
      • ‘Teena scrunched her brows; her piercing look could make anyone turn stone.’
      • ‘And just as you thought he is going to retire in silence, there appears a glow in his piercing eyes.’
      • ‘He looked at me with piercing eyes but didn't say anything.’
      • ‘Each day she floated down the hall with an armload of books as her piercing eyes searched out the quickest way to class.’
      • ‘His piercing eyes combed the area for anything strange.’
      • ‘After a moment, I could feel her piercing eyes focused on me.’
      • ‘For with every piercing look she gave me when I had done something wrong, I feared that just as she gave me life, she could just as easily take it away.’
      • ‘For the briefest moment the two strangers just looked, neither seeing the piercing eyes of the other.’
      • ‘He dove under again, searching with piercing eyes for the girl, his mind besieged with frenzied thoughts.’
      • ‘Ally squirmed and quickly looked away from the piercing eyes of her aggravated agent.’
    2. 1.2 (of a voice or sound) extremely high, loud, or shrill.
      ‘she let out a piercing scream’
      • ‘The trio was having some pleasant talk about the house when suddenly a loud piercing scream filled the house.’
      • ‘The sharp, piercing wail of the alarm shattered her dream and woke her abruptly from her sleep.’
      • ‘She covered her ears with the piercing sound of shattering glass.’
      • ‘Jerry and I were in the house alone and I'd just fallen asleep, when I was awakened by a loud piercing scream.’
      • ‘One of them had a voice so loud and piercing that you could hear him from one end of the carriage to the other.’
      • ‘He was cut off in mid-sentence by a loud and piercing scream from the rear of the wagon.’
      • ‘No more though, they began to cry for mercy as the school collectively recoiled from the piercing sound that had broken the silence.’
      • ‘Suddenly startled, it flew away as the piercing sound of the bell rang out.’
      • ‘Not long after the sun rose, a piercing sound went off in Faith's ears.’
      • ‘The sharp, piercing shriek of the morning bell sounded in from within the school building, echoing through the campus.’
      • ‘I opened my window, a piercing sound in the almost complete silence.’
      • ‘Then his ears picked up another sound, a piercing sound that ran shivers down the entire length of his body.’
      • ‘It was a loud and piercing sound that filled the entire room.’
      • ‘It was a split second before the piercing sound broke the air.’
      • ‘Abruptly he stopped, the sharp, piercing cry of a bird reaching his hearing.’
      • ‘She and the guys turned to go, their peaceful silence only to be interrupted by a loud, piercing scream.’
      • ‘Bronwyn stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled, a high, piercing sound.’
      • ‘Soon enough, the boat's whistle began to blow an eerie piercing sound as the water vehicle began moving.’
      • ‘A loud, piercing scream escaped her as she saw his face contort into a wild look of determination.’
      • ‘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
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    3. 1.3 (of wind or extreme temperature) seeming to cut through one.
      ‘the piercing cold’
      • ‘As I opened the door, the strong piercing cold, and the rain, stung me in the face.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Outside the hut the wind has got up, a strong piercing wind.’
      • ‘The weather conditions were quite abysmal with the piercing cold and rain testing the stamina and endurance of all players and panel members.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She lay sprawled out across the flagstones relishing the piercing cold and the blistering heat.’
      • ‘It snowed on and off all day and a cold piercing wind blew down the streets, along the canyons between the city's skyscrapers.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were all treading through ankle-deep snow in the lot, holding their jackets up to their necks against the piercing gale.’
      • ‘After a little while, he put the book away and slipped his jacket back on against the piercing chill of the wind.’
      • ‘Angel managed to find an outcropping of stone to protect her from the piercing, howling wind.’
      • ‘He imagined being in the coyote's fur - the piercing cold made him wish even stronger.’
      • ‘Her lungs felt heavy from the exercise and her throat ached each time she took a breath of the cold, piercing air.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At night, I was awakened by the piercing wind and burrowed under the quilt to escape the cold.’
      • ‘Uncaring, the piercing gusts of air sullied his racked frame, and his head pounded with fatigue.’
      • ‘Suddenly, all around her, the flames froze, and a piercing wind built up.’
      • ‘It is an enterprise that is always on the job, rain or shine, dry heat or piercing cold.’
      • ‘It came out cold, a piercing cold that can freeze you solid in your tracks.’
      freezing, frosty, frigid, chill, chilling, glacial, arctic, wintry, sharp, keen, biting, stinging, cutting, penetrating, numbing, harsh, fierce, raw, bitter
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    4. 1.4 (of a feeling) affecting one keenly or deeply.
      • ‘Our daughter was just waking up and seeing her face that morning struck a piercing fear in me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Padlin recognized the kid and a cold flash ran through him, a piercing sense of panic.’
      • ‘Then a piercing panic hit me: What if the lawyers found this broken glass? Of course they'd suspect foul play.’
      • ‘She felt the piercing sting of humiliation and her heart being broken and torn apart like some fragile letter.’
      • ‘A painful piercing feeling went through my heart when she did that.’
      • ‘I yelled and wiggled, but I couldn't stop the piercing feeling from growing more intense.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘That cold, piercing fear. It could come quickly or slowly, brought on by who knows what.’
      • ‘She pronounced it with venomous, piercing rage, like a vulture pouncing on its prey, and then she threw her cup against the wall.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Even then he had responded emotionally, as he would assert, to the deep, piercing sadness of the music.’
      intense, excruciating, agonizing, sharp, stabbing, shooting, stinging, severe, extreme, fierce, harrowing, searing, penetrating, racking, insufferable, unbearable, unendurable, torturous
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noun

  • 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 jewelry.

    ‘this is the place to get your tattoo or piercing done’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘She explained that she had put together the aftercare bags to ensure people used the right products for all their piercings.’
    • ‘Funnily enough though, it's not the pain that stops me from getting a piercing.’
    • ‘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.’
    1. 1.1 A ring, stud, or other piece of jewelry worn in a pierced part of the body.
      ‘two months ago, I decided to take out all my piercings’
      • ‘I can easily take my ear piercings out if required and then I look very ordinary.’
      • ‘He wore a dark suit and dark sunglasses, but still had on his nose rings and other piercings.’
      • ‘She showcased her lean physique in the skimpy crochet two-piece - flashing a belly button piercing.’
      • ‘For the movie, she gained weight, cut off her hair, wore piercings and lived in a shelter for three weeks.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

Pronunciation

piercing

/ˈpɪrsɪŋ//ˈpirsiNG/