per·vade | \ pər-ˈvād \
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

Eventually a miasma of unreality comes to pervade the book. Annika Neklason, The Atlantic, "‘The Trust of the Reader Is Distrusted by Roth’," 24 May 2018 By the end of this game, coach Steve Kerr was down to a seven-man rotation — trusting only Shaun Livingston and Jordan Bell off the bench — as noticeable exhaustion pervaded his squad. Bruce Jenkins, San Francisco Chronicle, "Now it’s nervous time for the Warriors," 22 May 2018 Dark and violent memories sprout up; grief pervades; animals often turn up dead or in the process. Brandon Yu, San Francisco Chronicle, "Melissa Stein’s poetry explores the beautiful, awful reality of being female," 15 May 2018 Some analysts argue that the malfeasance and self-dealing that pervaded 70 years of one-party rule by the PRI are dyed into the fabric of Mexican governance. Kevin Sieff, Washington Post, "Mexico’s new president is a populist who railed against the ruling class. But he’s no Trump.," 1 July 2018 Gone are the days of delusional optimism that pervaded the franchise. Tim Bontemps,, "For Jeanie Buss, NBA free agency marks the next step in a resurgence for Lakers," 26 June 2018 In a sense, though, the vote was never anything more than an academic exercise, a testament to the cynicism that pervades Congress at this moment. Nash Jenkins, Time, "Immigration Votes Cap a Rough Week for the GOP," 21 June 2018 Best of Nextdoor reveals a charming cluelessness that pervades America’s communities. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "What Petty Nextdoor Posts Reveal About America," 20 June 2018 The company’s sales pitch has raised eyebrows among outside experts — especially considering the pedigree of its advisers and their history of speaking out against the hype that pervades the stem cell field. Andrew Joseph, STAT, "Stem cell bank opens with backing from leading scientists. Is it worth the money?," 31 May 2018

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

1 Sep 2018

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

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


per·vade | \ pər-ˈvād \
pervaded; pervading

Kids Definition of pervade

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

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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).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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