permeate

verb
per·​me·​ate | \ ˈpər-mē-ˌāt How to pronounce permeate (audio) \
permeated; permeating

Definition of permeate

intransitive verb

: to diffuse through or penetrate something

transitive verb

1 : to spread or diffuse through a room permeated with tobacco smoke
2 : to pass through the pores or interstices of

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Other Words from permeate

permeative \ ˈpər-​mē-​ˌā-​tiv How to pronounce permeate (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

It's no surprise that permeate means "to pass through something" - it was borrowed into English in the mid-17th century from the Latin permeatus, which comes from the prefix per- ("through") and the verb meare, meaning "to go" or "to pass." "Meare" itself comes from an ancient root that may have also led to Middle Welsh and Czech words meaning "to go" and "to pass," respectively. Other descendants of "meare" in English include "permeative," "permeable," "meatus" ("a natural body passage"), and the relatively rare "irremeable" ("offering no possibility of return").

Examples of permeate in a Sentence

The water permeated the sand. The smell of baking bread permeated the kitchen. A feeling of anxiety permeated the office as we rushed to meet the deadline. The rain permeated through the soil.
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Recent Examples on the Web Now, how quickly can that same thinking permeate the rest of the auto industry? Alissa Walker, Curbed, "Sure, Laugh Away. But Every Big Vehicle Should Look Like This New USPS Truck," 24 Feb. 2021 Although the former president may be out of office and lacking a social media megaphone, his legacy continues to permeate several consequential issues facing lawmakers and Americans alike. Rick Klein, ABC News, "Centrists flex political muscle in critical week for Biden agenda: The Note," 23 Feb. 2021 Both are products of a country where the Tatmadaw continues to permeate every facet of life, even if its soldiers were rarely in evidence during the coup on Monday. New York Times, "Myanmar’s Army Is Back in Charge. It Never Truly Left.," 2 Feb. 2021 Turns out, all these ingredients permeate the meats in a beautiful way, too. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "Boiled dinner sounds so much sexier in French: Pot au feu. Either way, it’s the warm comfort you need now.," 25 Jan. 2021 There's no denying that his performance was a tearful moment that truly did permeate the room (and social media) with feelings of unity and joy. Rebecca Norris, Country Living, "Garth Brooks Sang His Heart Out at the Inauguration, and Fans Are Emotional," 20 Jan. 2021 The smell of beer and urine permeate the alley behind North Park’s once-lively Digital Gym CINEMA. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Looking back at 2020 in the arts: Ethan van Thillo: ‘Art connects us to our shared humanity’," 27 Dec. 2020 It's filled with warm spices that will permeate your home with the most intoxicating aroma. Star Tribune, "Invite old friends, in the form of favorite dishes, to the dinner table," 16 Dec. 2020 Refinement and attention to detail permeate each part of the VW. Tony Quiroga, Car and Driver, "Tested: 2006 Honda Civic Si vs. Volkswagen GTI," 18 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'permeate.' 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 permeate

1656, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for permeate

Latin permeatus, past participle of permeare, from per- through + meare to go, pass; akin to Middle Welsh mynet to go, Czech míjet to pass

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Time Traveler for permeate

Time Traveler

The first known use of permeate was in 1656

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Listen to Our Podcast about permeate

Statistics for permeate

Last Updated

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Permeate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/permeate. Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for permeate

permeate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of permeate

formal : to pass or spread through (something)

permeate

verb
per·​me·​ate | \ ˈper-mē-ˌāt How to pronounce permeate (audio) \
permeated; permeating

Kids Definition of permeate

1 : to pass through something that has pores or small openings or is in a loose form Water permeates sand.
2 : to spread throughout The smell of smoke permeated the room.

permeate

verb
per·​me·​ate | \ ˈpər-mē-ˌāt How to pronounce permeate (audio) \
permeated; permeating

Medical Definition of permeate

intransitive verb

: to diffuse through or penetrate something

transitive verb

: to pass through the pores or interstices of

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Comments on permeate

What made you want to look up permeate? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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