Main definitions of pounce in US English:

: pounce1pounce2

pounce1

verb

[no object]
  • 1(of an animal or bird of prey) spring or swoop suddenly so as to catch prey.

    ‘the wolf pounced on the rat’
    ‘she looked like a vulture waiting to pounce’
    • ‘A nearby wolf pounced on the bird first and the rodent scuttled to freedom.’
    • ‘Both the beasts pounced on him and began attacking.’
    • ‘When a predator pounces, simply escaping in the opposite direction is often the worst option.’
    • ‘Before you could say ‘Quick, get the binoculars’, the owner's cat pounced.’
    • ‘The other smuggler tried to run, but the beast pounced on him and raised him into the air.’
    • ‘He stalks around and pounces and growls and roars if he feels that anyone is a threat to us.’
    • ‘I was quite happy with that, so I couldn't believe it when the dog pounced on my dog.’
    • ‘Like a living animal, the wood pounced on its prey, wrapping itself around the loathsome wizard.’
    • ‘One of the monkeys pounced on a woman holding a child, biting her arm before leaping back into the tree.’
    • ‘The creature pounced again, but he avoided it by rolling to one side.’
    • ‘She hesitated for a moment, and then pounced upon her prey.’
    • ‘Then they were woken up by three dogs pouncing onto them.’
    • ‘Every time the butterfly would fly higher the kitten would pounce at the air and end up falling to the ground.’
    • ‘Suddenly, without any warning, the cat pounced on me and dug its claws into the skin of my arm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘And that's when the lion pounces and starts biting her hip.’
    • ‘The house seemed like a caged tiger ready to pounce on its prey.’
    • ‘He almost screamed when a rat suddenly pounced out of it, squeaking madly.’
    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’
      • ‘And it was then that his attacker pounced.’
      • ‘Then, the other girls pounced on her - howling, high-fiving, and hugging.’
      • ‘That's when law enforcement agents pounced on him.’
      • ‘And it was the same with everyone after that, and when they finally showed up around four, the girls nearly pounced on them.’
      • ‘Suddenly her pounced on her and they both went under and came up laughing.’
      • ‘I wanted to jump up and hug Jimmy tightly, but he already pounced on me.’
      • ‘That was when a stray assistant pounced on me, to do the ‘can I help?’’
      • ‘She pounced on top of him and they both tumbled to the ground.’
      • ‘As we left the courthouse, Hubby and Wifey and their kids pounced on us, hugging us and crying.’
      • ‘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 practically pounced on them when they arrived.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘You sleep around, break hearts, and then pounce on your next victim.’
      • ‘When we walked out of the test room, he practically pounced on us.’
      • ‘He pounced on the loose ball and sent a blistering shot to the net.’
      • ‘Now, imagine being out with a friend, and she suddenly pounces on you.’
      • ‘As soon as I open the door, my mom practically pounces on me.’
      • ‘We were escorted into this dressing room, where all these people pounced on us with cases of make-up and racks of clothing.’
      • ‘When I arrived home my sister practically pounced on me immediately for details.’
      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 and eager advantage of a mistake, remark, or sign of weakness.
      ‘reporters who are just as eager to pounce on a gaffe as on a significant news story’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They were managers I played with who could pounce on a player's weaknesses in a measured, forthright fashion.’
      • ‘The visitors lost the ball when trying to clear it though, and Brady pounced on the mistake to pop over a fine point.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘He pounces on every mistake, chews them out after wins if their play isn't up to his standards.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Then the Tigers pounce on opponents' mistakes.’
      • ‘Just as the crowd were being lulled into a stupor, Scotland pounced in the 23rd minute.’
      • ‘He gathers his energy, makes a run at a sentence, flags and then pounces on individual words for inappropriate emphasis, swallowing others whole.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘During the same period wardens have pounced on more than 1,000 motorists breaking parking or driving laws.’
      • ‘Any lapses in concentration and the Rats will pounce in what should be a close game.’
      • ‘She saves both with groundstroke winners, but the Belgian pounces on a third with a backhand return winner.’

noun

  • A sudden swoop or spring.

    • ‘I watched for the animal but it still surprised me with a pounce onto the rock opposite the pond from me.’
    • ‘The dog, teeth still bared, was suspended in an unmoving pounce.’
    • ‘With a blood-curdling roar, the Manticore spread its wings and leapt at the Cleric, attempting to floor him with a pounce.’
    • ‘She sank onto the couch, not quite relaxing, almost like a cat crouching before 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.’
    • ‘With an amazing pounce, we were flying through the air again.’
    • ‘The time between the pounce and the jump seemed an eternity, although it was only seconds.’
    • ‘Seeing this, the three sisters made a pounce at the chairs also, just in case the king thought that they were better off outside.’
    • ‘He rose up on one knee, then crouched there, body tight, as if tensing for the pounce.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The demon, full of the momentum of the pounce, tumbled easily through after her.’
    • ‘Intensely intimate couplings, ballistic kicks, feral pounces and feisty rolling hips raise the energy level in his Philadelphia rehearsal studio into the red zone.’
    leap, spring, jump, swoop, dive, lunge, bound
    View synonyms

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

/pouns//paʊns/

Main definitions of pounce in US 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.

    1. 1.1 Powdered 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

/pouns//paʊns/