Definition of piercing in US English:

piercing

adjective

  • 1(of mental attributes) sharp; profound.

    ‘her piercing analysis’
    • ‘His eyes were keen, their piercing gaze complementing the wisdom behind them.’
    • ‘I am grateful to an unknown referee whose piercing comment on an earlier version of the paper greatly simplified the proof.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He leaves the piercing insights for another day though.’
    • ‘I remove my own sunglasses and give her a piercing glare, though it rarely has any affect on her.’
    • ‘Shaking with fear the President broke the intense silent with a piercing question.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘That piercing insight is not included in her Critical Editions though it is implicit in the pages reprinted from her own perceptive book.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘A piercing insight and egoless clarity in the assessment of his own future reinstalled his cricketing career once again.’
    • ‘She looked to be in her early thirties, long blonde hair and intelligent, piercing green eyes.’
    • ‘I bet he watched this fine, piercing interview with a sinking heart.’
    • ‘His black leather trench coat billowing out behind him as his piercing blue-eyes seemed deep in thought.’
    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’
      • ‘Alexander looked down at me with suddenly piercing eyes.’
      • ‘He looked at me with piercing eyes but didn't say anything.’
      • ‘For the briefest moment the two strangers just looked, neither seeing the piercing eyes of the other.’
      • ‘He stood there silently, and looked at me with piercing eyes, as if assessing my worth.’
      • ‘And just as you thought he is going to retire in silence, there appears a glow in his piercing eyes.’
      • ‘He dove under again, searching with piercing eyes for the girl, his mind besieged with frenzied thoughts.’
      • ‘At the onset of such words, he looked at her with eyes of devastating malice, piercing eyes.’
      • ‘His piercing eyes searched the ceiling, perhaps for an enemy or another of its kind.’
      • ‘His piercing eyes combed the area for anything strange.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Ally squirmed and quickly looked away from the piercing eyes of her aggravated agent.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As he looked into her piercing eyes, he blushed profusely and began stammering.’
      • ‘Each day she floated down the hall with an armload of books as her piercing eyes searched out the quickest way to class.’
      • ‘The piercing look in her dazzling green eyes seemed to be challenging me.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Teena scrunched her brows; her piercing look could make anyone turn stone.’
      • ‘After a moment, I could feel her piercing eyes focused on me.’
    2. 1.2 (of a voice or sound) extremely high, loud, or shrill.
      ‘she let out a piercing scream’
      • ‘Bronwyn stuck two fingers in her mouth and whistled, a high, piercing sound.’
      • ‘She covered her ears with the piercing sound of shattering glass.’
      • ‘Soon enough, the boat's whistle began to blow an eerie piercing sound as the water vehicle began moving.’
      • ‘I opened my window, a piercing sound in the almost complete silence.’
      • ‘A loud, piercing scream escaped her as she saw his face contort into a wild look of determination.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The sharp, piercing shriek of the morning bell sounded in from within the school building, echoing through the campus.’
      • ‘The sharp, piercing wail of the alarm shattered her dream and woke her abruptly from her sleep.’
      • ‘Not long after the sun rose, a piercing sound went off in Faith's ears.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The trio was having some pleasant talk about the house when suddenly a loud piercing scream filled the house.’
      • ‘No more though, they began to cry for mercy as the school collectively recoiled from the piercing sound that had broken the silence.’
      • ‘He was cut off in mid-sentence by a loud and piercing scream from the rear of the wagon.’
      • ‘Jim followed, his eyes still watering from the piercing sound of that chair screaming across the hardwood floor.’
      • ‘One of them had a voice so loud and piercing that you could hear him from one end of the carriage to the other.’
      • ‘Suddenly startled, it flew away as the piercing sound of the bell rang out.’
      • ‘Jerry and I were in the house alone and I'd just fallen asleep, when I was awakened by a loud piercing scream.’
      • ‘It was a loud and piercing sound that filled the entire room.’
      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’
      • ‘Angel managed to find an outcropping of stone to protect her from the piercing, howling wind.’
      • ‘At night, I was awakened by the piercing wind and burrowed under the quilt to escape the cold.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were all treading through ankle-deep snow in the lot, holding their jackets up to their necks against the piercing gale.’
      • ‘It is an enterprise that is always on the job, rain or shine, dry heat or piercing cold.’
      • ‘As I opened the door, the strong piercing cold, and the rain, stung me in the face.’
      • ‘Uncaring, the piercing gusts of air sullied his racked frame, and his head pounded with fatigue.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘After a little while, he put the book away and slipped his jacket back on against the piercing chill of the wind.’
      • ‘Her lungs felt heavy from the exercise and her throat ached each time she took a breath of the cold, piercing air.’
      • ‘He imagined being in the coyote's fur - the piercing cold made him wish even stronger.’
      • ‘The weather conditions were quite abysmal with the piercing cold and rain testing the stamina and endurance of all players and panel members.’
      • ‘She lay sprawled out across the flagstones relishing the piercing cold and the blistering heat.’
      • ‘Suddenly, all around her, the flames froze, and a piercing wind built up.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It snowed on and off all day and a cold piercing wind blew down the streets, along the canyons between the city's skyscrapers.’
      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.
      • ‘That cold, piercing fear. It could come quickly or slowly, brought on by who knows what.’
      • ‘Padlin recognized the kid and a cold flash ran through him, a piercing sense of panic.’
      • ‘She felt the piercing sting of humiliation and her heart being broken and torn apart like some fragile letter.’
      • ‘Then a piercing panic hit me: What if the lawyers found this broken glass? Of course they'd suspect foul play.’
      • ‘Both babies screamed together, the same pitch, the same sound, the same abrupt, piercing terror and pain.’
      • ‘Even then he had responded emotionally, as he would assert, to the deep, piercing sadness of the music.’
      • ‘A painful piercing feeling went through my heart when she did that.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘She pronounced it with venomous, piercing rage, like a vulture pouncing on its prey, and then she threw her cup against the wall.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I yelled and wiggled, but I couldn't stop the piercing feeling from growing more intense.’
      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.’
    • ‘She explained that she had put together the aftercare bags to ensure people used the right products for all their piercings.’
    • ‘He said more should be done to stop piercings being carried out in non-sterile environments, such as fashion shops.’
    • ‘He said he would conduct about six piercings in an average week, the majority of those being bellybuttons.’
    • ‘Off he strolled down the drive, the silver rings and studs in his facial piercings sparkling cheerfully.’
    • ‘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.’
    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’
      • ‘She showcased her lean physique in the skimpy crochet two-piece - flashing a belly button piercing.’
      • ‘Melanie shared a picture of herself without any make-up on as well as some new piercings.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I can easily take my ear piercings out if required and then I look very ordinary.’
      • ‘For the movie, she gained weight, cut off her hair, wore piercings and lived in a shelter for three weeks.’
      • ‘He wore a dark suit and dark sunglasses, but still had on his nose rings and other 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.’

Pronunciation

piercing

/ˈpɪrsɪŋ//ˈpirsiNG/