Definition of percolate
1a : to cause (a solvent) to pass through a permeable substance (such as a powdered drug) especially for extracting a soluble constituentb : to prepare (coffee) in a percolator
2 : to be diffused through : penetrate
1 : to ooze or trickle through a permeable substance : seep
2a : to become percolatedb : to become lively or effervescent
3 : to spread gradually allow the sunlight to percolate into our rooms — Norman Douglas
4 : simmer 2a the feud had been percolating for a long time
percolationplay \ˌpər-kə-ˈlā-shən\ noun
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 of percolate from the Web
On Ti Amo, the veteran French pop rockers do everything well: infectious melodies, dance-ready beats, percolating synths, crunchy guitars, and stadium-worthy dynamics.
Some regulatory efforts are percolating at the state level to combat national legislative moves, though.
Legal challenges to local policies are percolating through courts nationwide with varying results.
As seas rise and Florida’s water table rises, state geologists predict that Florida’s porous limestone geology will allow water to easily percolate upward, flooding inland and coastal areas alike.
Hydrogen sulfide is a flammable, hazardous gas, and a byproduct of rainwater percolating with gypsum drywall disposed at the dump, said Jim Riffle of Auburn Environmental.
White House officials said the idea of privatizing air traffic control has percolated in Washington, D.C., since the Clinton administration.
In a flurry of activity on the last day of their spring session, Illinois lawmakers advanced a handful of proposals that had been percolating all year, though none will end the state's long budget fight.
Proposals for inspection programs percolating in these and other cities are spurring heavy debate.
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.
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.
PERCOLATE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of percolate for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of percolate for Students
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
Medical Definition of percolate
transitive verb: 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: to ooze or trickle through a permeable substance
2: to become percolated
Seen and Heard
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