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 pictures from our digital cameras pervade our social media feeds—and our attention. Ainissa G. Ramirez, Scientific American, "Black Images Matter: How Cameras Helped—and Sometimes Harmed—Black People," 8 July 2020 Viewed from this perspective, the pandemic could exacerbate systemic inequities that already pervade in Northeast Ohio, rendering Cleveland even less able to address entrenched poverty. Steven Litt, cleveland, "Could George Floyd’s death while restrained by white police spark a new civil rights era in Cleveland and other U.S. cities?," 4 June 2020 Though Mama Joy is no longer with the characters, her ethos pervades the novel, lending it a sense of home. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Hot Stuff: May romances tackle issues with ferocity and love," 1 June 2020 Planes aren't flying, cars aren't driving, consumers aren't buying the petrochemical doodads that pervade modern life. Ezra Dyer, Car and Driver, "Oil Prices Go Negative, but No One Is Going to Pay You to Drive," 21 Apr. 2020 An electric quality pervades your professional sphere., "Horoscope," 15 Apr. 2020 Such simplistic storytelling pervades the genre beyond its frequent use of stereotypes. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Craving Wide Open Spaces? Watch a Western.," 30 Mar. 2020 That sense of being stalked by a deadly disease without being able to defend against it pervades New York City jails, according to inmates, reform advocates, defense lawyers, health officials and the union representing corrections officers. NBC News, "Prisoners in New York City jails sound alarm as coronavirus spreads: 'I fear for my life'," 18 Mar. 2020 Esports is a phenomenon that will inevitably pervade scholastic extracurricular life. Wired, "High Schools Need to Get Over It and Embrace Esports," 10 Oct. 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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Time Traveler for pervade

Time Traveler

The first known use of pervade was in 1659

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Last Updated

18 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Pervade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for pervade


How to pronounce pervade (audio)

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for pervade

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pervade

Spanish Central: Translation of pervade

Nglish: Translation of pervade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pervade for Arabic Speakers

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