per·​vade | \ pər-ˈvād How to pronounce pervade (audio) \
pervaded; pervading

Definition of pervade

transitive verb

: to become diffused throughout every part of

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Did You Know?

English speakers borrowed "pervade" in the mid-17th century from Latin pervadere, meaning "to go through." "Pervadere," in turn, was formed by combining the prefix per-, meaning "through," with the verb vadere, meaning "to go." Synonyms of "pervade" include "permeate," "impregnate," and "saturate." "Pervade" stresses a spreading diffusion throughout every part of a whole ("art and music pervade every aspect of their lives"). "Permeate" implies diffusion specifically throughout a material thing ("a green dye permeating a garment"). "Impregnate" suggests a forceful influence or effect on something throughout ("impregnate the cotton with alcohol"). "Saturate" is used when nothing more may be taken up or absorbed ("cloth saturated with water").

Examples of pervade in a Sentence

A feeling of great sadness pervades the film. Art and music pervade every aspect of their lives.

Recent Examples on the Web

Today, the same alchemy that pervades his original experience carried over to all of the spin-off productions, getting a fresh jolt of creative energy each time -- including, yet again, with the new incarnation. Scott Huver, CNN, "The 'Circle of Life' brings singer Lebo M back to 'The Lion King'," 17 July 2019 Seek out unique and wonderful modern structures intermingled with age-old buildings, and capture symbols of the palpable creative energy that pervades this Bohemian capital. National Geographic, "Prague High School Photography Workshop," 17 June 2019 Employment was hard to find for returning soldiers, there were strikes and Americans' fears about the potential rise of communism pervaded. Jason Daley, Smithsonian, "To Remember the Chicago Race Riot of 1919, Commemoration Project Looks to Public Art," 30 July 2019 The electrons then smash into the ambient photons that pervade the universe as a part of the cosmic microwave background and send them speeding through the galaxy. Dennis Normile, Science | AAAS, "Highest energy light ever seen traced to Crab Nebula," 8 July 2019 The feeling that stakes were high, competition was fierce, and failure was not an option, pervaded our squadron, our team, our school. Polo Tate, Marie Claire, "Sexual Assault in the Military: One Woman's True Story," 8 Aug. 2018 If each energy field pervading space is thought of as the surface of a pond, and waves and particles are the turbulence on that surface, then the new evidence strengthens the argument that a vibrant, hidden world lies beneath. Quanta Magazine, "Signs of a Stranger, Deeper Side to Nature’s Building Blocks," 1 July 2013 His calm pervades Shangri-La, a four-part docuseries that takes its name from his historic Malibu studio and premieres on Showtime July 12, the same day all four episodes will appear on the network’s streaming app. Judy Berman, Time, "Showtime's Extremely Authorized Rick Rubin Docuseries Shangri-La Is Flawed But Sublime," 9 July 2019 That sense of winking playfulness pervades every scene and it’s brought to colorful life in Jennifer Brawn Gittings’ riotously colorful costumes. Pam Kragen, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ at Cygnet a tongue-in-cheek guilty pleasure," 8 July 2019

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

1659, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pervade

Latin pervadere to go through, pervade, from per- through + vadere to go — more at per-, wade

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Statistics for pervade

Last Updated

18 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pervade

The first known use of pervade was in 1659

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More Definitions for pervade



English Language Learners Definition of pervade

formal : to spread through all parts of (something) : to exist in every part of (something)


per·​vade | \ pər-ˈvād How to pronounce pervade (audio) \
pervaded; pervading

Kids Definition of pervade

: to spread through all parts of : permeate Spicy smells pervaded the whole house.

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More from Merriam-Webster on pervade

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pervade

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pervade

Spanish Central: Translation of pervade

Nglish: Translation of pervade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pervade for Arabic Speakers

Comments on pervade

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


a period when something is suspended

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