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.

Example Sentences

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 The governor’s order also streamlines permitting for groundwater recharge projects, where stormwater runoff can be captured and percolate into the soil to boost aquifers. Ian James, Los Angeles Times, 1 Apr. 2022 For all practical purposes this means that population genetics can now percolate more freely among the masses. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 26 Sep. 2012 The modern black coffee maker isn’t afraid to percolate 14 cups at a go. Jonathan Bender, Popular Mechanics, 20 Dec. 2022 The fields tilt slightly to move water faster and percolate less of it below the roots. Brandon Loomis, AZCentral.com, 20 Nov. 2022 Because these paleovalleys are highly permeable, scientists have pointed to them as ideal pathways for water to quickly percolate down and recharge groundwater. Ian Jamesstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 The Fed’s attempts to curb inflation by raising rates will take many months to percolate through the economy. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Jan. 2023 Allowing such behavior to percolate creates an environment in which other extremists feel comfortable acting, Deutch said. Maureen Groppe, USA TODAY, 7 Dec. 2022 These are important themes, emotions, and ideas that percolate in the head of every kid right now. Joe Wituschek, BGR, 9 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

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 8 Feb. 2023.

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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