noun pen·e·tra·tion \ ˌpe-nə-ˈtrā-shən \
|Updated on: 19 Aug 2018

Definition of penetration

1 a : 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

Examples of penetration in a Sentence

  1. Cuts in the skin could permit the penetration of bacteria into the body.

  2. the penetration of the CIA by foreign agents

  3. the penetration of the U.S. market by a foreign company

  4. multiple penetrations into enemy territory

  5. a writer who analyzes the underlying causes of the recession with great penetration

Recent Examples of penetration from the Web

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.

First Known Use of penetration


in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Synonym Discussion of 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

PENETRATION Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of penetration for English Language Learners

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

  • : an ability to understand things clearly and fully

PENETRATION Defined for Kids


noun pen·e·tra·tion \ ˌpe-nə-ˈtrā-shən \

Definition of penetration for Students

1 : the act or process of piercing
2 : keen understanding

Medical Dictionary


noun 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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