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

Synonyms for percolate

Synonyms

bleed, exude, ooze, seep, strain, sweat, transude, weep

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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

Here’s a quick explanation of how the system works: Water enters the top of the water-softener tank and percolates down through the resin beads. Joseph Truini, Popular Mechanics, "How a Water Softener Works (And Why You Might Want One)," 4 July 2019 Iceland, formed long ago by volcanoes, is known for its otherworldly landscape, with steaming fields and percolating mud. Rick Steves, USA TODAY, "Geothermal baths and beyond: Rick Steves' guide to Iceland's steamiest sites," 25 June 2019 The restaurant is a result of more than five years of percolating about each detail. Ann Maloney, nola.com, "Gianna: New Warehouse District restaurant dishes out travelogue of Italian food," 18 June 2019 With that in mind, here are six questions percolating beneath the surface in Oakland. 1. Andrew Sharp, SI.com, "Six Degrees of NBA Free Agency at the Finals," 13 June 2019 Past work suggested that water percolating through the ocean plate's web of fractures had reacted with the rocks below the surface, transforming them into soft green minerals in a process known as serpentinization. National Geographic, "A tectonic plate may have peeled apart—and that could shrink the Atlantic Ocean," 6 May 2019 Perhaps confidence percolates through the squad in time for the second fixture against the group’s Goliath, Costa Rica. Luis Miguel Echegaray, SI.com, "Bermuda a Small Gold Cup First-Timer With Big Visions," 14 June 2019 The apparent boiling point percolated as their goal-less droughts mounted. Andy Greder, Twin Cities, "Minnesota United’s Darwin Quintero, Angelo Rodriguez put Saturday’s tension behind them," 10 June 2019 Examining every angle — and giving the decision time to percolate — can help at a career crossroads. Kathryn Crawford Saxer, The Seattle Times, "Major career decisions can take time to get right," 13 July 2018

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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Statistics for percolate

Last Updated

16 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for percolate

The first known use of percolate was in 1626

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More Definitions for percolate

percolate

verb

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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with percolate

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for percolate

Spanish Central: Translation of percolate

Nglish: Translation of percolate for Spanish Speakers

Comments on percolate

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