Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “piercing”

piercing

adjective uk   /ˈpɪə.sɪŋ/ us    /ˈpɪr-/
going through or into something: Troops have been issued with new armour-piercing anti-tank grenades.Making holes in things very cold, or making you feel very cold: We shivered in the piercing wind. (of a sound) high, loud, and unpleasant: piercing screamsNoise and noisy a piercing criticism, question, remark, etc. a criticism, question, remark, etc. that is unpleasant or uncomfortable because it is strong or it makes you think about or discuss something that you would prefer not to: She hadn't really meant to lie, but their piercing questions had forced her to.Serious and unpleasantNot attractive to look atInformal words for bad piercing eyes, look, gaze, etc. used to describe when a person looks very carefully at someone or something, especially when they are trying to discover something, often making people feel uncomfortable: Sherlock Holmes gave him a piercing glance. He looked straight at me with his piercing blue eyes.Using the eyesEyesight, glasses and lensesThe eye and surrounding areaPerceptive
piercingly
adverb uk   /-li/ us  
Noise and noisy

piercing

noun [C or U] uk (also body piercing)   /ˈpɪə.sɪŋ/ us    /ˈpɪr-/
a hole made in the body for wearing jewellery, or the process of making such a hole: He has several tattoos and multiple piercings.Holes, hollows and dips
(Definition of piercing from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of piercing?
Browse related topics

You are looking at an entry to do with Making holes in things, but you might be interested in these topics from the Cutting and joining topic area:

Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “piercing” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

roost

When birds roost, they go somewhere to rest or sleep.

Word of the Day

Blog

Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More