percolate

verb

per·​co·​late ˈpər-kə-ˌlāt How to pronounce percolate (audio)
nonstandard
-kyə- How to pronounce percolate (audio)
percolated; percolating

transitive verb

1
a
: to cause (a solvent) to pass through a permeable substance (such as a powdered drug) especially for extracting a soluble constituent
b
: to prepare (coffee) in a percolator
2
: to be diffused through : penetrate

intransitive verb

1
: to ooze or trickle through a permeable substance : seep
2
a
: to become percolated
b
: to become lively or effervescent
3
: to spread gradually
allow the sunlight to percolate into our roomsNorman Douglas
4
: simmer sense 2a
the feud had been percolating for a long time
percolation noun

Did you know?

Percolate comes from a Latin verb meaning "to put through a sieve". Something that percolates filters through something else, just as small particles pass through a sieve. Water is drawn downward through the soil, and this percolation usually cleans the water. A slow rain is ideal for percolating into the soil, since in a violent rainstorm most of it quickly runs off. For this reason, drip irrigation is the most effective and water-conserving form of irrigation. Percolation isn't always a physical process; awareness of an issue may percolate slowly into the minds of the public, just as Spanish words may gradually percolate into English, often starting in the Southwest.

Examples of percolate in a Sentence

Sunlight percolated down through the trees. Rumors percolated throughout the town. There is nothing like percolating coffee over an open campfire. Coffee was percolating on the stove.
Recent Examples on the Web Some of the money has gone toward raising dams and increasing the capacity of spreading grounds, where water is sent into basins and then percolates underground into aquifers. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 11 May 2024 Without Gobert, the Nuggets offense was expected to percolate. Troy Renck, The Denver Post, 6 May 2024 There are also concerns percolating about a potential crew member strike later this year, when current labor contracts expire for IATSE and the Teamsters Local 399. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, 2 May 2024 TikToks float into my friends’ Instagram stories, percolate into our group chats, swirl into my Twitter feed. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2024 Much of the lake bed sits on a thick layer of clay that blocks water on the surface from percolating down to the aquifer. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 17 Apr. 2024 When news began percolating Friday that Biden was hinting at more student debt relief this week, critics were quick to pounce. Zachary Schermele, USA TODAY, 8 Apr. 2024 The United Kingdom provides an important example, where low levels of cases percolated for most of 2023, then exploded in November. Mark Kortepeter, Forbes, 26 Feb. 2024 But any scenes pairing Mendes with Olin and Tomei, both captivating performers in their respective roles, truly light a fire under the proceedings, making the dialogue crackle and the connective conflicts percolate. Courtney Howard, Variety, 7 Feb. 2024

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'percolate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Latin percolatus, past participle of percolare, from per- through + colare to sieve — more at per-, colander

First Known Use

1626, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of percolate was in 1626

Dictionary Entries Near percolate

Cite this Entry

“Percolate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/percolate. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

percolate

verb
per·​co·​late ˈpər-kə-ˌlāt How to pronounce percolate (audio)
percolated; percolating
1
: to trickle or cause to trickle through something porous : filter, seep
water percolating through sand
2
: to prepare coffee in a percolator
3
: to be or become spread through : penetrate

Medical Definition

percolate

1 of 2 verb
per·​co·​late ˈpər-kə-ˌlāt How to pronounce percolate (audio)
percolated; percolating

transitive verb

1
: to cause (a solvent) to pass through a permeable substance (as a powdered drug) especially for extracting a soluble constituent
2
: to be diffused through

intransitive verb

1
: to ooze or trickle through a permeable substance
2
: to become percolated

percolate

2 of 2 noun
per·​co·​late -ˌlāt How to pronounce percolate (audio) -lət How to pronounce percolate (audio)
: a product of percolation

More from Merriam-Webster on percolate

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