permeate

verb

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

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
permeative adjective

Did you know?

It's no surprise that permeate means "to pass through something"—it was borrowed into English in the 17th century from 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.
Recent Examples on the Web The idea that food service is about making people feel cared for—that the service is just as important as the food—permeates the season. Judy Berman, TIME, 27 June 2024 Nicholson’s unembellished beauty, as ripe for discovery as a remote landscape, permeates the film as much as Ziegler’s changeling aura. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 25 June 2024 Hiccups aside, Raimondi Park permeated an unquestionable aura of joy — a joy many fans of Oakland baseball have desperately been seeking. Justice Delos Santos, The Mercury News, 4 June 2024 Faulkner's spirit permeates the shelves, inviting readers to delve into the rich tapestry of Southern literature. American Booksellers Association, USA TODAY, 1 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for permeate 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'permeate.' 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 permeatus, past participle of permeare, from per- through + meare to go, pass; akin to Middle Welsh mynet to go, Czech míjet to pass

First Known Use

1656, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of permeate was in 1656

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near permeate

Cite this Entry

“Permeate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/permeate. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

permeate

verb
per·​me·​ate ˈpər-mē-ˌāt How to pronounce permeate (audio)
permeated; permeating
1
: to spread throughout
a room permeated with the scent of flowers
2
: to pass through something which has pores or small openings or is of loose texture : seep through
water permeates sand
permeation
ˌpər-mē-ˈā-shən
noun

Medical Definition

permeate

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

intransitive verb

: to diffuse through or penetrate something

transitive verb

: to pass through the pores or interstices of

More from Merriam-Webster on permeate

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!