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 rooms Norman 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 disappointing thing for Nick Saban and Bill O’Brien - the offensive coordinator - Alabama’s offense was just started to percolate. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 2 Oct. 2022 Most modern courses built inland, on heavier soils, don’t percolate surface water as quickly and need the help of a network of drainage pipe, catch basins and dry sumps to vacate their surface water. Bradley S. Klein, WSJ, 17 June 2022 Meanwhile, rumors continue to percolate around Apple’s plans to release an AR headset or a pair of smart glasses (or both) sometime in the near future. Nick Statt, The Verge, 11 Jan. 2021 These curatorial aspects of AI art may eventually percolate through curatorial practices in museums or digital exhibitions. Wired, 18 July 2022 Rainwater and air should be able to percolate through the soil to be absorbed by the roots and used to support the growth and health of the tree. Beth Botts, Chicago Tribune, 17 July 2022 Vitriol directed at the FBI from Trump supporters has continued to percolate, with Truth Social offering fertile ground. Ben Goggin, NBC News, 12 Aug. 2022 Such whispers are now beginning to percolate out of the Middle Kingdom, which has remained essentially closed to the outside world for the past two years. Jacky Wong, WSJ, 3 Mar. 2022 Wet slides are particularly dangerous in the afternoon after a melt-freeze cycle, when warm weather allows water to percolate the snowpack, creating a weak layer and saturating the slab. The Editors, Outside Online, 18 May 2015 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 26 Nov. 2022.

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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