Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To pierce, punch, or bore a hole or holes in; penetrate.
  • transitive v. To pierce or stamp with rows of holes, as those between postage stamps, to allow easy separation.
  • intransitive v. To pass into or through something.
  • adj. Having been perforated.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Perforated.
  • v. To pierce; to penetrate.
  • v. To make a line of holes in a thin material to allow separation at the line.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To bore through; to pierce through with a pointed instrument; to make a hole or holes through by boring or piercing; to pierce or penetrate the surface of.
  • adj. Pierced with a hole or holes, or with pores; having transparent dots resembling holes.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To bore through; pierce; make a hole or holes in, as by boring or driving.
  • Synonyms Bore through, Pierce, etc. See penetrate.
  • Bored or pierced through: penetrated.
  • Specifically— In botany, pierced with one or more small holes, or, more commonly, having translucent dots which resemble holes, as in most plants of the order Hypericineæ.
  • In ornithology, noting the nostril of a bird when lacking a nasal septum, so that a hole appears from side to side of the bill, as in the turkey-buzzard, crane, etc.
  • In anatomy, open; opened through; affording passage or communication; having the character or quality of a perforation; forminate
  • In zoology, full of little holes or perforations; cribrose; foraminulate; specifically, of or pertaining to the Perforata: as, a perforate coral; a perforate foraminifer.
  • Of the shells of gastropod mollusks, having a tubular cavity extending through the columella from the umbilicus to the apex: contrasted with imperforate, in which case the columella is solid.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. pass into or through, often by overcoming resistance
  • v. make a hole into or between, as for ease of separation
  • adj. having a hole cut through

Etymologies

Latin perforāre, perforāt- : per-, per- + forāre, to bore.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • It is probably derived from a root meaning "to bore," "perforate," and hence denotes perforated wind instruments of all kinds.

    Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • The "bizarre bits" on display here include a bunch of medical specimens and instruments, such as the smallpox scab, various saws used for amputations and neurosurgery, and a trepan, a grotesque device used to perforate the skull, which was believed to aid in treating mental illness, epilepsy and migraines.

    Virginia Historical Society's odd gems offer uncommon insights into the past

  • He also talked about the positive role of older, more experienced and hard-bitten men such as Jose Henriquez, 56, a miner trained to perforate holes who is also an evangelical pastor.

    In weeks before rescuers made contact, miners struggled with despair

  • But Bassett's relapses grew more frequent, his brief convalescences less and less vigorous, his periods of coma longer, until he came to know, beyond the last promptings of the optimism inherent in so tremendous a constitution as his own, that he would never live to cross the grass lands, perforate the perilous coast jungle, and reach the sea.

    THE RED ONE

  • I continue to be haunted by flying dreams, airplane anxiety dreams that perforate my brain with panic.

    A Fear of Flying of My Very Own

  • The bullet, driving with momentum sufficient to perforate a man's body a mile distant, struck Tudor with such force as to pivot him, whirling him half around by the shock of its impact and knocking him down.

    Chapter 27

  • Shuffling penitentially on your knees, bending and scraping with dustpan and brush while vicious pine needles perforate your kneecaps...it's almost enough to make you feel like Christmas might, in a twisted way, be the descendent of some sort of primitive religious festival.

    After the Binge Must Come the Purge

  • But a diamond can scratch the skin, perforate it, bring blood welling to the top, spilling over fascinated edges.

    Diamonds

  • Violent accidents perforate the narratives, both as a means of insisting on the contingency of existence and as a means of keeping the reader reading —

    Why James Wood is so Good…

  • Imagine the deafening report of a mortar as it strikes the ground a 150 feet in front of you, the overpressure enough to shatter your teeth and perforate an ear drum.

    Think Progress » Romney Struggles To Distance RomneyCare From ObamaCare: Ours Was ‘Bipartisan’

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