• WordNet 3.6
    • n punctuation the use of certain marks to clarify meaning of written material by grouping words grammatically into sentences and clauses and phrases
    • n punctuation the marks used to clarify meaning by indicating separation of words into sentences and clauses and phrases
    • n punctuation something that makes repeated and regular interruptions or divisions
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: There was no punctuation until the 15th century
    • n Punctuation (Gram) The act or art of punctuating or pointing a writing or discourse; the art or mode of dividing literary composition into sentences, and members of a sentence, by means of points, so as to elucidate the author's meaning.Punctuation, as the term is usually understood, is chiefly performed with four points: the period.], the colon:], the semicolon;], and the comma,]. Other points used in writing and printing, partly rhetorical and partly grammatical, are the note of interrogation?], the note of exclamation!], the parentheses()], the dash [--], and brackets]. It was not until the 16th century that an approach was made to the present system of punctuation by the Manutii of Venice. With Caxton, oblique strokes took the place of commas and periods.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The Chinese language does not require punctuation.
    • n punctuation In writing and printing, a pointing off or separation of one part from another by arbitrary marks; specifically, the division of a composition into sentences and parts of sentences by the use of marks indicating intended differences of effect by differences of form. The points used for punctuation exclusively are the period or full-stop, the colon, the semicolon, and the comma. (See point, n., 11 .) The interrogation- and exclamation-points serve also for punctuation in the place of one or another of these, while having a special rhetorical effect of their own; and the dash is also used, either alone or in conjunction with one of the preceding marks, in some cases where the sense or the nature of the pause required can thereby be more clearly indicated. (See parenthesis.) The modern system of punctuation was gradually developed after the introduction of printing, primarily through the efforts of Aldus Manutius and his family. In ancient writing the words were at first run together continuously; afterward they were separated by spaces, and sometimes by dots or other marks, which were made to serve some of the purposes of modern punctuation, and were retained in early printing. Long after the use of the present points became established, they were so indiscriminately employed that, if closely followed, they are often a hindrance rather than an aid in reading and understanding the text. There is still much uncertainty and arbitrariness in punctuation, but its chief office is now generally understood to be that of facilitating a clear comprehension of the sense. Close punctuation, characterized especially by the use of many commas, was common in English in the eighteenth century, and is the rule in present French usage: but open punctuation, characterized by the avoidance of all pointing not clearly required by the construction, now prevails in the best English usage. In some cases, as in certain legal papers, title-pages, etc., punctuation is wholly omitted.
    • n punctuation In zoology, the punctures of a punctate surface.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Punctuation the act or art of dividing sentences by points or marks
    • ***


  • George F. Will
    “Football combines the two worst features of American life. It is violence punctuated by committee meetings.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Cf. F. ponctuation,


In literature:

I mean, what does that punctuation mark between t and s stand for?
"The Wit and Humor of America, Volume III. (of X.)" by Various
An announcement to be read by the "clerk" was written out by the rector, and was, no doubt, properly punctuated.
"Personal Recollections of Birmingham and Birmingham Men" by E. Edwards
We find among his works, numerous instances of his peculiar and artistic punctuation.
"History of English Humour, Vol. 2 (of 2)" by Alfred Guy Kingan L'Estrange
To those who know the Britisher he is forgiven for those luxuries of insular stupidity which punctuate his history.
"Germany and the Germans" by Price Collier
I give you the incidents which punctuate my days, and as for the background, nothing could be simpler than to fill it in.
"Le Petit Nord" by Anne Elizabeth Caldwell (MacClanahan) Grenfell and Katie Spalding
The spelling, punctuation, accented letters, and capitalizing are perfect.
"Lights and Shadows of New York Life" by James D. McCabe
The Prologue speaks with all the punctuation wrong.
"Shakespeare and Music" by Edward W. Naylor
Omit not to punctuate with stag vacations long periods of domestic felicity.
"The Joyful Heart" by Robert Haven Schauffler
The wording of the sign had been frequently and indifferently punctuated.
"Overland Red" by Henry Herbert Knibbs
We have given the letter just as it was written, with its lack of punctuation, bad spelling and all.
"The Bobbin Boy" by William M. Thayer

In poetry:

There the comets, vast and streaming,
Punctuate the heavens' gleaming
Scroll; and suns, gigantic, shine,
Periods to each starry line.
"Processional" by Madison Julius Cawein
Five minutes before the bell punctuates
Visiting time, his friend opens an alarm-clock eye.
The visitor checks his watch.
Market day. The Duck and Pheasant will be still open.
"Ten Types of Hospital Visitor" by Charles Causley
From the depth of darkness punctuated by scattered stars
came a rebuke: "when I let you grasp me you call it an deception,
and yet when I remain concealed,
why do you hold on to your faith in me with such conviction?"
"Ungrateful Sorrow" by Rabindranath Tagore

In news:

It will go (punctuation and grammar errors included) something like this.
Personal Attacks Punctuate Final Wash. Jump to Navigation.
Big plays punctuate Bulldogs' 28-12 homecoming win.
With Ohio a key prize in the race for the White House, President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney are punctuating their arguments here with gusto.
Johnson's big game helps Hawks punctuate long road trip.
A number of trends emerged in foodservice baking this year that will likely punctuate business in 2009.
Importance of punctuation is beyond question.
Some thoughts for National Punctuation Day, celebrated each year on September 24.
Celebrate National Punctuation Day with 'Super Grammar.
Punctuation Nerds Stopped by Obama Slogan, 'Forward.'.
Punctuation coming to Popovich's career.
Punctuation contest brings out the best.
Series 3, Volume 6: Punctuation .
The official site is promoting a punctuation haiku contest.
Copy-Editing the Culture: National Punctuation Day and Waiting for "Superman".

In science:

However, for 0 ≤ f ≤ 1 the lattice is punctuated by quenched sites, and we relax only the non-quenched sites.
Hysteresis in Ferromagnetic Random Field Ising Model with an Arbitrary Initial State
As in Brazovskii’s transition, one expects the weakly self-organized state to be punctuated by defects of unusual morphology, which should be manifest in experiments as dynamically fluctuating domains, and for which there is evidence in simulations .
Emergent superfluid crystals, frustration, and topologically defected states in multimode cavity QED
Finally, we can describe a general string as an irreducible string punctuated with some number of repeated letters (defined below) and completely reducible strings.
Random tensor theory: extending random matrix theory to random product states
Despite the small number of Seyferts studied in detail so far, there is growing evidence that their nuclear activity is characterised by intermittent quiescent phases punctuated by outbursts .
Radio-Quiet AGN and the Transient Radio Sky
Plateau-I contains down spins in singlets and doublets punctuated by up spins.
Hysteresis in Anti-Ferromagnetic Random-Field Ising Model at Zero Temperature