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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Minimalistic décor and sophisticated style permeate much of Angel and Jared Lewis’ Crestline home. Sarah Cook, al, "See inside this modern Crestline rebuild," 2 Nov. 2019 Historically, Democrats have shied away from gun control in a state that’s home to the National Rifle Association and where gun culture permeates rural areas. Washington Post, "Gun policy gets its biggest political test in the Virginia Beach district that suffered mass shooting," 18 Oct. 2019 Spanish and Roman Cathoic influences permeate Cebu City; Basilica Minore del Santo Niño houses a small statue of Christ that was presented by Ferdinand Magellan. Valerie Marino, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Islands in the World: 2019 Readers' Choice Awards," 7 Oct. 2019 As the stakes have grown, the logic of business and the imperatives of risk reduction have permeated an industry that was once much more auteur-driven. Patrick Brzeski, The Hollywood Reporter, "Korea's Booming Studio System Could Stifle Filmmakers' Indie Spirit," 1 Oct. 2019 In Cuba, a mojito is transformed into the Cubita: an edible sphere presented on a spoon resting in a cigar box that, once opened, permeates the air with a slightly woodsy aroma. By Danielle Bernabe, Fortune, "Around the World in 12 Cocktails," 28 Sep. 2019 Defensive backs like Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore and Denzel Ward permeated the defense with a confidence that sprung from the idea that throwing on the Buckeyes was a dangerous proposition. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland, "Ohio State football’s Chase Young is the most team-changing Buckeye since Troy Smith," 24 Sep. 2019 Could this approach permeate into an extended postseason? Shayna Rubin, The Mercury News, "Mark Canha walks off in Athletics’ win over Royals, but a key moment went down in the bullpen," 18 Sep. 2019 By Sunday afternoon, the smell of tar permeated the area as workers labored to repair them. Giulia Mcdonnell Nieto Del Rio, latimes.com, "Seismic selfies: Massive earthquake surface rupture becomes tourist attraction," 9 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about permeate

Listen to Our Podcast about permeate

Statistics for permeate

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for permeate

The first known use of permeate was in 1656

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).

WORD OF THE DAY

the exactly right word or phrasing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Pass the Little Ribbons: A Pasta Word Quiz

  • rotelle pasta
  • Match the pasta to its meaning in English: Rotelle
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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