Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "punctuate" [punc•tu•ate]

  • To provide (a text) with punctuation marks. (verb-transitive)
  • To interrupt periodically: "lectures punctuated by questions and discussions” ( Gilbert Highet). "[There is] a great emptiness in America's West punctuated by Air Force bases” ( Alfred Kazin). (verb-transitive)
  • To stress or emphasize. (verb-transitive)
  • To use punctuation. (verb-intransitive)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "punctuate" in a sentence
  • "Arguing about how to best punctuate is often like trying to convince someone that liking chocolate milkshakes is bad because strawberry milkshakes are good."
  • "But the plot itself is transplanted straight from the book: Mr. Fox is a fearless, clever, and cunning creature who finds the tables turned when he is hunted by three local farmers who have been immortalized by an eerie children’s rhyme whose refrain punctuate the film’s darkest and most exciting moments."
  • "Prof. SKINNER: Because I thought it -- we thought it was an interesting way to kind of punctuate what we had done, because we start in the other writings with some of his childhood writings, and then here's his last kind of public letter to the country as he moves into another phase of his life."