pen·e·tra·tion | \ˌpe-nə-ˈtrā-shən \

Definition of penetration 

1a : the power to penetrate especially : the ability to discern deeply and acutely

b : the depth to which something penetrates

c : the extent to which a commercial product or agency is familiar or sells in a market

2 : the act or process of penetrating: such as

a : the act of entering a country so that actual establishment of influence is accomplished

b : an attack that penetrates the enemy's front or territory

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Choose the Right Synonym for penetration

discernment, discrimination, perception, penetration, insight, acumen mean a power to see what is not evident to the average mind. discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art). the discernment to know true friends discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent. the discrimination that develops through listening to a lot of great music perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling). a novelist of keen perception into human motives penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial. lacks the penetration to see the scorn beneath their friendly smiles insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy. a documentary providing insight into the plight of the homeless acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment. a director of reliable box-office acumen

Examples of penetration in a Sentence

Cuts in the skin could permit the penetration of bacteria into the body. the penetration of the CIA by foreign agents the penetration of the U.S. market by a foreign company multiple penetrations into enemy territory a writer who analyzes the underlying causes of the recession with great penetration
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Recent Examples on the Web

Combined with other high-profile Russian hacking from 2017, like the NotPetya ransomware attacks, the grid penetrations were a sobering revelation. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "The Worst Cybersecurity Breaches of 2018 So Far," 9 July 2018 The active cyber penetrations and operations against the DNC, DCCC, and Clinton campaign leader John Podesta 4. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "Indicting 12 Russian Hackers Could Be Mueller's Biggest Move Yet," 13 July 2018 One reason is the growth in mobile-phone and internet penetration, making finance accessible even to those living a long way from physical bank branches or ATMs. The Economist, "Financial inclusion is making great strides," 3 May 2018 The violations included both anal and vaginal penetration, as well as fondling. Ginger Christ And Brie Zeltner,, "Former Cleveland Clinic doctor on leave due to sexual assault allegations reacts to similar accusations against "estranged" identical twin," 17 Jan. 2018 Usually the term applies to vaginal and anal penetration, but not always. Anna Pulley, RedEye Chicago, "Ask Anna: How do I express an unconventional desire?," 8 Jan. 2018 The scouts use Kali Linux penetration testing software to learn hacking skills. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "Why the Girl Scouts Are Learning to Pick Locks and Hack Computers," 28 June 2018 But South Korea kept coming and despite a frustrating lack of penetration, snatched a late equaliser through Seol Ki-hyeon to sensationally send the game to extra time., "World Cup Countdown: 4 Weeks to Go - Remembering South Korea's Tarnished Run to the 2002 Semis," 28 May 2018 This approach of finding a Band-Aid for legacy vulnerabilities that likely aren't going to be solved another way is worthwhile, says Robert Graham, CEO of the threat intelligence and penetration testing firm Errata Security. Lily Hay Newman, WIRED, "Cloudflare's Plan to Protect the Whole Internet Comes Into Focus," 12 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'penetration.' 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 penetration

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Statistics for penetration

Last Updated

14 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for penetration

The first known use of penetration was in 1605

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More Definitions for penetration



English Language Learners Definition of penetration

: the act of going through or into something : the act of penetrating something

: an ability to understand things clearly and fully


pen·e·tra·tion | \ˌpe-nə-ˈtrā-shən \

Kids Definition of penetration

1 : the act or process of piercing

2 : keen understanding


pen·e·tra·tion | \ˌpen-ə-ˈtrā-shən \

Medical Definition of penetration 

1 : the depth to which something penetrates

2 : the act or process of penetrating

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Comments on penetration

What made you want to look up penetration? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


evasion of direct action or statement

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