Middle English Dictionary Entry

pẹ̄rcen v.
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Entry Info

Definitions (Senses and Subsenses)

(a) To thrust a weapon, a horn, a needle, etc., through or into (sb. or sth., part of the body, armor, etc.); cut into (skin or flesh); shoot missiles into (sth.); ~ of, pierce (sth.); ~ thurgh; ~ blod, draw blood by piercing; (b) of something sharp or of a blow: to penetrate (armor, part of the body), pierce (sb. or sth.), puncture, wound; also, stab, inflict wounds; ~ into (on, thurgh, thurghout); (c) in figurative uses; (d) ppl. percing, of a weapon or surgical instrument: sharp, keen, cutting; also fig.; (e) ppl. perced, pierced; of a hole: made by piercing; also, of lips: ?bitten, lacerated; ipersed thurghout.
Fig. To affect (sb.) emotionally; be piercing, moving, affecting or afflicting; ~ corage, injure one's spirit; ~ herte (in twein, ~ thurgh (to the) herte, touch or move (someone's) feelings deeply; ppl. percing, sharp, penetrating; ppl. perced, pierced.
Med. & surg. (a) Of a wound: to cause an incision, penetrate, reach (to the bone, to an inner part, through sth.); break through (the skull), penetrate (a bodily organ, the brain), puncture; of an ulcer, inflammation, etc.: bore, pierce, perforate; perforate (a bodily organ or tract, etc.); (b) ppl. percing, penetrating, perforating; percing in (to, unto).
(a) To make a hole in (sth., an ear, a statue, the bark of a tree, etc.), bore a hole or holes in; wear a hole through (a stone); breach (a wall, a hedge), break down; break into (a rock); burrow through (earth); excavate (ground) [quot.: ?a1439]; cut a channel down, or mine a tunnel through (a mountain); broach (a wine barrel); of roots: push through (the earth); also fig. of death: invade or undermine (sb.); ~ hole, make a hole; ~ in holes, ~ ful of holes, make a number of holes in (a wooden plate, a basin, etc.); ~ win, broach a barrel of wine; (b) to penetrate, make a hole, bore a hole; ~ thurgh unto, dig a passage through to (sb. buried in rubble); fig. of a thunderbolt: smash through; (c) ppl. perced, having a hole or holes, perforated.
(a) To press into the enemy ranks; make inroads into (an enemy army), break up (a battle formation); (b) of a people, a nation: to spread abroad, occupy territory; of a general: invade (territory), cross (a boundary); ~ amonges, push through (a crowd).
(a) To pass through or into something material; penetrate (matter, the earth, air, mist, etc.), pass through; of an odor: pass into (sb.); fig. of lightning: force a path through (sth.); fig. of love: ~ into, penetrate (its object) forcibly; fig. of prayer: pierce through (the planets); ~ thurgh out, break out; (b) med. & physiol. to diffuse or percolate through the body or a bodily organ, permeate; penetrate (the body, a bodily organ), permeate, diffuse into; -- also refl.; to penetrate, weaken, and dissolve (sinews); to act as a solvent; ~ into, penetrate into (sinews); ~ to, reach to (the brain, the bottom of a wound); ~ thurgh; (c) of the esophagus: to pass through (the midriff); (d) to sting (the tongue, the hand), affect pungently; (e) ppl. percing, penetrating; -- also as adj.
(a) To get through to (heaven), achieve communication with, have an effect in; ~ eres, engage the attention (of sb., of God); (b) to gain access to (heaven); obtain entry to (a house); (c) to make a way (into hell, death), take a path; make a way into (heaven), open up; (d) to extend into (the heavens), reach into.
(a) To see (sth.); see through (intervening objects); look directly at (the sun); ~ thurgh; (b) to examine with the reason, scrutinize, comprehend; comprehend (sth.); of reason: understand clearly, perceive; ppl. percing, perspicacious; (c) ppl. percing, shining, radiant, dazzling; of eyesight: keen; of eyes: gleaming; also, penetrating.
Ppl. perced, of a garment: shot or variegated (with a certain kind of fabric); perced with pride, ostentatiously embellished.

Supplemental Materials (draft)

  • a1300 When y se blosmes (Roy 2.F.8)30 : Wan hic…ysee yperled [read: ypersed] fetd…wel oþte myn herte…syc and sery be.
  • Note: New spelling