1 : to diffuse through or penetrate (something)
2 : to pass through the pores or interstices of
The scent of lilacs permeated the air as soon as the bushes bloomed outside my window.
"'Game Over.' There's no element of video-game culture that has so thoroughly permeated the mainstream. Everyone knows what it means: You screwed up or you caught a bad break. Better luck next time." - From an article by Jesse Singal in The Boston Globe, July 14, 2013
Did You Know?
It's no surprise that "permeate" means "to pass through" something-it was borrowed into English in the mid-17th century from Latin "permeatus," which comes from the prefix "per" ("through") and "meare," meaning "to go" or "to pass." "Meare" itself comes from an ancient root that may have also led to Middle Welsh and Czech words meaning "to go" and "to pass," respectively. Other descendants of "meare" in English include "permeative," "permeable," "meatus" ("a natural body passage"), and the relatively rare "irremeable" ("offering no possibility of return").
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Fill in the blanks to create a synonym of "permeate": sfu_e. The answer is …