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The bird [...] its beak on my arm.

I thought about stab but I think it sounds weird applied to a bird's beak.

What other verb can I use?

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poked? jabbed? struck? – medica Feb 11 '14 at 14:04
You mean in your arm, not on your arm, right? So the beak broke the skin? Doing something with a beak "on my arm" would mean something entirely different. – Kristina Lopez Feb 11 '14 at 15:05
@Kristina Lopez Yes, the break broke the skin. So I should use in? – janoChen Feb 11 '14 at 15:14
Yes, "in" would be correct for that example. Sounds painful though! :-) – Kristina Lopez Feb 11 '14 at 15:22
"in my arm?" I think "into" is correct. – kevin cline Feb 11 '14 at 18:27
up vote 8 down vote accepted

If you're specifically talking about a bird, the word you're looking for might be "peck".

"The bird pecked my arm with its beak."

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This answer is perfect. Only suggestion I have would be to remove "with its beak". It's potentially redundant :) – Dan Feb 11 '14 at 17:23
@Dan I agree it's redundant. I only left it in there to equate it with the original example sentence. – Kevin Workman Feb 11 '14 at 17:31
Note that "peck" (as mentioned by Mari-Lou A below) doesn't actually imply breaking the skin. "Pecked into my arm", "pecked a hole in my skin", or similar might work, but since the emphasis is on the puncture rather than the act of pecking, "puncture" or "pierce" is probably the better verb choice. – Kyle Strand Feb 11 '14 at 20:04
You're not wrong, but "The bird pierced my arm" just seems clumsy to me. I would bet that a combination is probably the best choice. Something like: "The bird pecked my arm, piercing my skin and causing me to cry out." – Kevin Workman Feb 11 '14 at 22:43

jab [jab]

verb (used with object), verb (used without object), jabbed, jab·bing.

  1. to poke, or thrust abruptly or sharply, as with the end or point of a stick.

"The bird jabbed my arm with its beak" or "The bird jabbed its beak on my arm."

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The bird pierced my arm with its beak.


The bird's beak pierced my arm.

Pierce To cut or pass through with or as if with a sharp instrument; stab or penetrate.

Neither jab nor peck necessarily imply the man's skin was broken, as requested by the OP.

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"Puncture" works, but stylistically I prefer "pierce" in this case. – Kyle Strand Feb 11 '14 at 20:02

Other suitable verbs used can be impaled or punctured.


transfix or pierce with a sharp object


a small hole in something such as the skin, caused by a sharp object.

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But the bird would not impale its beak on your arm. It could try to impale your arm on its beak, but it would imply a rather sizeable beak, protruding from the other side of your arm as a result of the impaling. – oerkelens Feb 11 '14 at 13:56
Puncture is a good one, but not "impale" for the same reasons oerkelens gave. – Kristina Lopez Feb 11 '14 at 15:23

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