pen·​e·​trat·​ing | \ ˈpe-nə-ˌtrā-tiŋ How to pronounce penetrating (audio) \

Definition of penetrating

1 : having the power of entering, piercing, or pervading a penetrating shriek
2 : acute, discerning penetrating insights into life

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Other Words from penetrating

penetratingly \ ˈpe-​nə-​ˌtrā-​tiŋ-​lē How to pronounce penetratingly (audio) \ adverb

Examples of penetrating in a Sentence

She is one of our most penetrating and provocative critical thinkers. an author famous for her penetrating social commentary a penetrating account of what really happened during the crisis flowers that give off a penetrating perfume
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Recent Examples on the Web British companies understand that this dynamic allows the EU to wield a passive yet highly penetrating form of power to unilaterally transform global markets and shape corporate behavior. Anu Bradford, WSJ, "No, Brexit Won’t Free the U.K. From EU Regulations," 7 Feb. 2020 Available in 100- or 125-grain models, the DK4 features a one-piece aluminum ferrule and ultra-sharp penetrating steel tip. Jace Bauserman, Field & Stream, "The Best New Broadheads from the 2020 Archery Trade Show," 9 Jan. 2020 And Donovan's performance is made all the more emotionally penetrating by Joe's guardedness. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Greater Clements': Theater Review," 10 Dec. 2019 With the help of one particularly intrepid female seal, the researchers discovered that heat stored at the ocean’s depths can sometimes get swirled back up to the surface thanks to some deeply penetrating currents. Katherine J. Wu, Smithsonian, "Seals with High-Tech Hats Are Collecting Climate Data in the Antarctic," 6 Dec. 2019 So, instead, here are some of the most startling and penetrating quotes from Nanette. Jenny Hollander, Marie Claire, "13 Hannah Gadsby 'Nanette' Quotes You Won't Be Able to Stop Thinking About," 20 July 2018 The penetrating documentary, which gets remarkable access to its subjects, is an honest, universal look at body issues and the navigation of relationships. David Lewis, San Francisco Chronicle, "Frameline offers movie feast during Pride Week," 14 June 2018 Rieslings from Austria generally feel firmer, denser and more penetrating, while those from Alsace are altogether bigger and more voluminous. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "2016 Dry German Rieslings: Graceful, Resonant, Delicious," 3 May 2018 No one has written with more penetrating skepticism about the history of human rights than Samuel Moyn, a professor of law and history at Yale and one of the leading academic intellectuals at work today. Adam Kirsch, WSJ, "‘Not Enough’ Review: Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There," 19 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penetrating.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of penetrating

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for penetrating

Time Traveler

The first known use of penetrating was in 1580

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Statistics for penetrating

Cite this Entry

“Penetrating.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for penetrating


How to pronounce penetrating (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of penetrating

: able to understand something clearly and fully
: helping people to understand something clearly and fully
: spreading out deeply or widely



Medical Definition of penetrating

: having the power of entering, piercing, or pervading treat hemorrhage from both penetrating injury and blunt traumaJournal of the American Medical Association

Other Words from penetrating

penetratingly \ -​ˌtrāt-​iŋ-​lē How to pronounce penetratingly (audio) \ adverb

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