penetrating

adjective

pen·​e·​trat·​ing ˈpe-nə-ˌtrā-tiŋ How to pronounce penetrating (audio)
1
: having the power of entering, piercing, or pervading
a penetrating shriek
2
: acute, discerning
penetrating insights into life
penetratingly adverb

Example Sentences

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
Recent Examples on the Web Even the most penetrating rhetoric is not an anti-missile defense system. David Remnick, The New Yorker, 5 Mar. 2022 Coming out of the pandemic, most organizations are willing to conduct a more penetrating examination of conscience, identify their gaps, and then work to close those gaps. Timothy R. Clark, Forbes, 4 Jan. 2022 However, Lewis is a speedy and penetrating lead-guard who can break down defenses off the dribble and get to the basket. Morten Jensen, Forbes, 28 Sep. 2021 Lee has long since shown herself to be among the most penetrating literary biographers in English, and has been content, before now, to write only the lives of dead authors whose reputations are secure. Andrew O’hagan, The New York Review of Books, 13 Apr. 2021 The patients sustained non-penetrating spinal cord injuries from falls or minor trauma. Chris Smith, BGR, 24 Feb. 2021 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, 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, 9 Jan. 2020 And Donovan's performance is made all the more emotionally penetrating by Joe's guardedness. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 Dec. 2019 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1580, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of penetrating was in 1580

Dictionary Entries Near penetrating

Cite this Entry

“Penetrating.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/penetrating. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

penetrating

adjective
pen·​e·​trat·​ing
1
: having the power of entering or piercing
penetrating cold
2
: acute sense 3, discerning
a penetrating mind
penetratingly
-ˌtrāt-iŋ-lē
adverb

Medical Definition

penetrating

adjective
pen·​e·​trat·​ing
: having the power of entering, piercing, or pervading
treat hemorrhage from both penetrating injury and blunt trauma Journal of the American Medical Association
penetratingly adverb

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