permeable

adjective

per·​me·​able ˈpər-mē-ə-bəl How to pronounce permeable (audio)
: capable of being permeated : penetrable
especially : having pores or openings that permit liquids or gases to pass through
a permeable membrane
permeable limestone

Did you know?

“Our landscapes are changing … they’re becoming less permeable to wildlife at the precise moment animals need to move most,” writes Ben Goldfarb in his book Crossings: How Road Ecology is Shaping the Future of Our Planet. He’s describing the effects of highway infrastructure and at the same time clearly demonstrating the meaning of permeable, a word that traces back to a combination of the prefix per-, meaning “through,” and the Latin verb meare, meaning “to go” or “to pass.” Accordingly, a permeable landscape—such as one where humans have constructed wildlife overpasses—is one that allows animals to pass and spread through unimpeded. Permeable’s relative, the verb permeate (“to spread or diffuse through”) is another commonly used meare descendent, but other relations haven’t managed to permeate the language quite so widely, such as meatus (“a natural body passage”), congé (“a formal permission to depart”), and irremeable (“offering no possibility of return”).

Examples of permeable in a Sentence

The cell has a permeable membrane. a permeable fabric that allows your body heat to escape will be much more comfortable in the summertime
Recent Examples on the Web This builds to his own spearheading of a multi-screen installation devoted to her work in Edinburgh’s Fruitmarket exhibition space, which again underlines Cousins’ sense of the permeable bond between visual art and cinema. Guy Lodge, Variety, 6 July 2024 Their skin is permeable, so they’re more exposed to pollution in the soil and water. Benji Jones, Vox, 18 June 2024 The Unknown Country) suggests a permeable border between the alluring and the precarious, a collision of dreamscape and the everyday that’s a defining quality of Wagner’s film. Sheri Linden, The Hollywood Reporter, 3 Sep. 2019 That permeable line between perverse surreality and inevitable normality runs through the season. Nicholas Quah, Vulture, 2 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for permeable 

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of permeable was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near permeable

Cite this Entry

“Permeable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/permeable. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

permeable

adjective
per·​me·​able ˈpər-mē-ə-bəl How to pronounce permeable (audio)
: having pores or openings that permit liquids or gases to pass through
a permeable membrane
permeable limestone

Medical Definition

permeable

adjective
per·​me·​able ˈpər-mē-ə-bəl How to pronounce permeable (audio)
: capable of being permeated
especially : having pores or openings that permit liquids or gases to pass through
a permeable membrane

More from Merriam-Webster on permeable

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