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.

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 on the Web Ditto the flashbacks to her middle-class family back in the West African country, who can afford to hire armed security guards while intimations of civil war percolate around them. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 14 Feb. 2024 As diverse viewpoints are shared, the strongest, most applicable ideas percolate to the center of discussion and, with the guidance of skilled leaders, move toward actionable agendas. Tom Wellner, Forbes, 13 Feb. 2024 Over the years, the minerals percolate through the soil to the water table and eventually get flushed into rivers and oceans. Dina Genkina, Ars Technica, 1 Feb. 2024 The percolating effects of changing weather patterns, international turmoil and elevated energy costs all have served to increase the cost of producing milk and beans, the key components of most coffee beverages. Emily Wright, Washington Post, 10 Nov. 2023 But his wealth has percolated for years through the liberal ecosystem, even as Democrats have decried the dark money in US politics, which allow politically active groups to shield the identity of donors. Emily Birnbaum, Fortune, 25 Jan. 2024 Still, interest in the show continued to percolate, including in 2003, when an out-of-town tryout in Philadelphia — before a planned Broadway run — suddenly evaporated when financial backing disintegrated. Jesse McKinley, New York Times, 7 Nov. 2023 And as the Ravens prepare for a rematch of Week 1, reminders of the urgency of the opportunity in front of them percolate all around. Brian Wacker, Baltimore Sun, 17 Jan. 2024 There isn’t the border-war vitriol that percolates when Ohio State plays Michigan — passions for college football boil over here — but more of a misery-loves-company simpatico, even though the NFL history in these parts is impossibly rich. Sam Farmer, Los Angeles Times, 13 Jan. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'percolate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 1 Mar. 2024.

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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