percolate

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

Definition of percolate

transitive verb

1a : 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
2a : to become percolated
b : to become lively or effervescent
3 : to spread gradually allow the sunlight to percolate into our rooms— Norman Douglas
4 : simmer sense 2a the feud had been percolating for a long time

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Other Words from percolate

percolation \ ˌpər-​kə-​ˈlā-​shən How to pronounce percolation (audio) \ 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web In these essays, Himmelfarb proved to be a masterful observer of the sociology of intellectual transformation — how ideas percolate, rise, are debated and considered, accepted or rejected. Yuval Levin, National Review, "The Historian as Moralist," 31 Dec. 2019 When the top of this snow cone melts in the summer, liquid water percolates down into the firn, which soaks it up like a 100-foot-thick sponge. National Geographic, "Something strange is happening to Greenland's ice sheet," 18 Sep. 2019 The lot must be large enough to place a septic field and the soil must percolate. Jeff Layton, The Seattle Times, "Your PNW vacation home: How to pick a site and the right crew," 29 Mar. 2019 After one year in Oklahoma City and an unceremonious stint in Houston last season, Anthony is back with the Trail Blazers after questions percolated over whether his career was over. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets defend Carmelo Anthony’s name before reunion: “Real basketball heads know how good that guy is”," 12 Dec. 2019 There seems to be more percolating to increase efforts. Alan J. Borsuk, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Borsuk: Early brain development is crucial to a child's future. What will it take to close the prekindergarten gap?," 6 Dec. 2019 With a plethora of data on what drives people to click, share or pledge money, modern-day political strategists can now understand what messages help reinforce their base and slowly percolate them into the consciousness of those who might be swayed. Ari Lightman, The Conversation, "On TV, political ads are regulated – but online, anything goes," 21 Nov. 2019 Further analysis, however, revealed the bubbles had been contaminated by CO2 percolating from beneath the ice, likely released by microbes. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "World’s oldest ice core could solve mystery of ‘flipped’ ice age cycles," 30 Oct. 2019 But Ross was the favorite throughout the 3½-week search, and his candidacy actually started to percolate during the first Cubs spring training for Maddon and Ross in 2015. Mark Gonzales, chicagotribune.com, "As the next manager, David Ross will bring a no-nonsense style to Cubs team that lacked accountability," 23 Oct. 2019

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

1626, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

History and Etymology for percolate

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

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Learn More about percolate

Time Traveler for percolate

Time Traveler

The first known use of percolate was in 1626

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Statistics for percolate

Last Updated

15 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Percolate.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/percolate. Accessed 24 January 2020.

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More Definitions for percolate

percolate

verb
How to pronounce percolate (audio) How to pronounce percolate (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of percolate

: to pass slowly through something that has many small holes in it
: to spread slowly
: to make (coffee) in a special pot (called a percolator)

percolate

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

Kids Definition of percolate

1 : to trickle or cause to trickle through something porous : ooze Water percolated through sand.
2 : to prepare (coffee) by passing hot water through ground coffee beans again and again

Other Words from percolate

percolation \ ˌpər-​kə-​ˈlā-​shən \ noun
percolator \ -​ˌlā-​tər \ noun

percolate

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

Medical Definition of percolate

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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

noun
per·​co·​late | \ -ˌlāt How to pronounce percolate (audio) , -lət How to pronounce percolate (audio) \

Medical Definition of percolate (Entry 2 of 2)

: a product of percolation

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More from Merriam-Webster on percolate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for percolate

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with percolate

Spanish Central: Translation of percolate

Nglish: Translation of percolate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on percolate

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