permeate

verb
per·me·ate | \ ˈpər-mē-ˌāt \
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 \ 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

The stench permeating the grounds was so bad, officers had to cover their mouths and noses. Kelli Bender, PEOPLE.com, "More than 80 Dogs, Including Days-Old Puppies, Rescued from Excrement-Caked Puppy Mill in Alabama," 10 July 2018 Constitutionalism is not a mere institutional form but a culture—a set of sentiments, habits and assumptions, a permeating spirit that animates an otherwise lifeless paper scheme. Joseph Tartakovsky, WSJ, "The Culture That Sustains America’s Constitution," 2 July 2018 Yoaz Hendel, a former adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu, has become one of his fiercest right-wing critics, denouncing his policies in columns and talk shows, and leading a rally against the corruption that’s allegedly permeated his government. David Wainer, Bloomberg.com, "Netanyahu on Top of the World at Home as Political Wins Add Up," 31 May 2018 But there are other identities permeating his current tour. Joey Guerra, Houston Chronicle, "Justin Timberlake pushes against the pop flash on Man of the Woods Tour," 24 May 2018 For youngsters who are accustomed to mobile technology permeating almost every aspect of life, the use of VR makes perfect sense. Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Pistons' VR exploration a game-changer for prospects," 9 June 2018 As the odor of rotting flesh permeated the Lockport Township High School greenhouse in early May students became disgusted and nauseated. Frank Vaisvilas, Daily Southtown, "Blooming corpse flower emits 'disgusting' odor at Lockport Township High School," 16 May 2018 These are lean times in our professional sports pasture that is permeated by the undeniable scent of cowflop. Mac Engel, star-telegram, "Fulmer crushes Witten rumor to Tennessee and praises his former 'defensive end' | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 4 May 2018 When linked to each other, the planters create a stunning sculptural display permeated by light—like a new design piece, or curtain. Ahnna Lee, Vogue, "The Planter of the Future Might Not Need Any Soil," 30 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for permeate

Last Updated

21 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for permeate

The first known use of permeate was in 1656

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More Definitions for permeate

permeate

verb

English Language Learners Definition of permeate

: to pass or spread through (something)

permeate

verb
per·me·ate | \ ˈper-mē-ˌāt \
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 \
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

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