pounce

To pounce is to attack suddenly by leaping onto your prey. A tiger will slowly sneak up on its prey and then suddenly pounce, using speed as much as strength to make the kill.

Of all the animals, cats are the best at pouncing. Snakes strike. Elephants charge. But when an animal leaps onto its prey, that's pouncing. When we talk about how people pounce, however, we're usually talking more figuratively. When we say that a person pounced on another person, we mean that they attacked viciously without warning — usually giving the victim no time to defend themselves. Lawyers pounce on witnesses, for example. If you feel suddenly ganged-up on, you might feel pounced upon.

Definitions of pounce
  1. verb
    move down on as if in an attack
    synonyms: swoop
    see moresee less
    types:
    stoop
    descend swiftly, as if on prey
    type of:
    come down, descend, fall, go down
    move downward and lower, but not necessarily all the way
  2. noun
    the act of pouncing
    see moresee less
    type of:
    bounce, bound, leap, leaping, saltation, spring
    a light, self-propelled movement upwards or forwards
Word Family
EDITOR’S CHOICE

Test prep from the experts

Boost your test score with programs developed by Vocabulary.com’s experts.

  • Proven methods: Learn faster, remember longer with our scientific approach.
  • Personalized plan: We customize your experience to maximize your learning.
  • Strategic studying: Focus on the words that are most crucial for success.

SAT/PSAT

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 8 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week

TOEFL

$29.95
  • Number of words: 500+
  • Duration: 10 weeks or less
  • Time: 1 hour / week