pen·​e·​tra·​tion | \ ˌpe-nə-ˈtrā-shən How to pronounce penetration (audio) \

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 But for crypto exchanges to be successful and profitable in India, the penetration and size of orders would have to improve. Prathamesh Mulye, Quartz, "A techie who once mistrusted the internet is now building one of India’s largest crypto exchanges," 11 Apr. 2021 Preventing the penetration of mites, bacteria and liquids is also necessary and can be done with a mattress protector. Anthony Marcusa,, "The best mattress for couples," 10 Apr. 2021 Houston has to stop the penetration of Davion Mitchell for its defense to have a chance. USA TODAY, "Final Four predictions for men's NCAA Tournament games," 3 Apr. 2021 Collaborate also integrates with Microsoft 365, which makes sense given its high penetration rate. Anshel Sag, Forbes, "T-Mobile Goes After Businesses And AT&T And Verizon Should Be Concerned," 4 Mar. 2021 Better roads and other transport infrastructure reduce Amazon’s cost to deliver merchandise to customers, and better broadband penetration means more customers for its online service. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: Jeff Bezos likes Biden’s infrastructure plan because he knows it’s worth the money," 7 Apr. 2021 In addition to testing penetration, the sleds could also simulate how nuclear weapons react to being slammed into the ground during a plane crash. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Watch a Rocket Sled Loaded With Fake Bombs Crash Into a Wall," 6 Apr. 2021 Coach Kelvin Sampson's team was well prepared for Syracuse's signature 2-3 zone defense, utilizing quick ball movement and dribble penetration to keep the offensive momentum in Houston's favor throughout the game. Scott Gleeson, USA TODAY, "No. 2 Houston locks up Buddy Boeheim, dispatches No. 11 Syracuse to reach Elite Eight in men's NCAA Tournament," 28 Mar. 2021 Seven minutes in, with the Cavs trailing 24-17, unable to contain dribble penetration and generously giving up open 3-pointers and layups, head coach J.B. Bickerstaff had seen enough. Chris Fedor, cleveland, "Cleveland Cavaliers’ starters get run off floor in 119-105 loss to Sacramento Kings," 23 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for penetration

Time Traveler

The first known use of penetration was in 1605

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Statistics for penetration

Last Updated

21 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Penetration.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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
formal : an ability to understand things clearly and fully


pen·​e·​tra·​tion | \ ˌpe-nə-ˈtrā-shən How to pronounce penetration (audio) \

Kids Definition of penetration

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


pen·​e·​tra·​tion | \ ˌpen-ə-ˈtrā-shən How to pronounce penetration (audio) \

Medical Definition of penetration

1 : the depth to which something penetrates
2 : the act or process of penetrating

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