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 permeative (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 This is of a piece with a general vagueness that permeates the first half of the book. Frank Rose, WSJ, "‘Not to Scale’ Review: Both Ends of the Telescope," 3 Mar. 2020 There is an unquestionable sense of whimsy that permeates the world of modern taxidermy art. Aj Willingham, CNN, "We taxidermied a rat. All it takes is a little imagination ... and a lot of Borax," 8 Feb. 2020 The black hole itself is an ideal heat sink, the researchers argue, and usable energy can come from the cosmic microwave background (CMB), weak radiation from the big bang that permeates space. Daniel Clery, Science | AAAS, "Could a habitable planet orbit a black hole?," 4 Feb. 2020 In the 1960s and 1970s, physicists including Peter Higgs and François Englert proposed a solution in the form of a novel energy field that permeates the universe, now called the Higgs field. Michael Greshko, National Geographic, "These are the top 20 scientific discoveries of the decade," 5 Dec. 2019 Steinfeld’s version of Dickinson, by contrast, will outwardly showcase the restless spirit that permeates her writing. Kristin Vartan, EW.com, "Here's everything you need to know about Hailee Steinfeld's Dickinson," 30 Oct. 2019 To elected leaders on both sides of the aisle, the social media exchange is one more example of the vicious tone that permeates political discussions online. courant.com, "Oct. 23, 2019: A reckoning for UConn," 23 Oct. 2019 The devastating truth that permeated the piece—that the most powerful government in the world is actively turning a blind eye to those situated on the economic front lines of the encroaching disaster—prompts a number of questions. Nick Martin, The New Republic, "American Farming Runs on Exploitation," 17 Oct. 2019 Lucas and his colleague, Steven Spielberg, were not only nostalgic for the films of their youth, but for the transporting neo-romantic orchestral scores that permeated them. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Minnesota Orchestra’s ‘Empire Strikes Back’ makes music paramount," 3 Oct. 2019

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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Statistics for permeate

Last Updated

22 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Permeate.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/permeate. Accessed 4 Apr. 2020.

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More Definitions for permeate

permeate

verb
How to pronounce permeate (audio)

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

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