One of the examples of the word Pucker (noun) in https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pucker is "Northern California’s Rubicon Trail—one of the most iconic and difficult off-road routes in the world—makes a typical driver totally pucker." I don't understand (1) the real meaning of "pucker" in this sense and (2) why "totally" (assumed as an adverb) is placed in front of a noun. Could you shed some light please? Thank you so much.

  • Why do you think it's a noun? Have you consulted any dictionaries? May 12, 2019 at 12:32
  • The example is presented under the "Recent Examples on the Web: Noun" session. Is it not a noun, @LucianSava?
    – Stan L
    May 12, 2019 at 14:02
  • Stan: Some helpful reading, on meta: Are thanks on answers unnecessary?.
    – J.R.
    May 22, 2019 at 23:06

1 Answer 1


Your example is a colourful phrase from the lead paragraph of a current (2018) US magazine about off-road driving.

To pucker is a verb meaning to wrinkle. Here it might politely mean purse his lips (as if eating something sour) but given its context, is much more likely to mean what commenter (thanks!) described as "anal contraction caused by fear", per Urban Dictionary.

OED: 1. intransitive. To gather or contract into creases, small folds, or bulges; to become drawn together into wrinkles or corrugations.

The adverb totally here just is emphasis.

  • 5
    I think pucker here has to do with anal contraction caused by fear. May 12, 2019 at 12:39
  • @MichaelHarvey not slang I knew, you are surely correct, answer edited.
    – jonathanjo
    May 12, 2019 at 13:16
  • And to explicitly answer the question, pucker is a verb and totally is an adverb. May 12, 2019 at 13:57
  • 2
    "Pucker Factor - A measure of the stressfulness of a situation, determined by the amount of muscle tension registered in one’s rectum. " Naval Terminology, Jargon and Slang. It's also in later Partridge editions. May 12, 2019 at 14:27

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