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 We are covered in ash and strong sulphur scents pervade the air. Radina Gigova, CNN, "'Extremely heavy ash fall' as authorities report third explosion at volcano in St. Vincent," 10 Apr. 2021 Expect video to pervade existing social media platforms and for new video-only platforms to emerge. William Arruda, Forbes, "How Video Will Transform The Future Of Work," 11 Apr. 2021 In the classical Greek and Roman myths that pervade Western lore today, a perhaps surprising number of these creatures are coded as women. Nora Mcgreevy, Smithsonian Magazine, "Why So Many Mythological Monsters Are Female," 31 Mar. 2021 In Kelvin's vision, the fluid was the theoretical ‘aether’ then thought to pervade all of space. Ron Cowen, Scientific American, "Physicists Twist Water into Knots," 6 Mar. 2013 Still, early advice that focused on hand-washing and sanitizing surfaces has stuck, as evidenced by the hygiene theater that continues to pervade public spaces. Sarah Zhang, The Atlantic, "We’re Just Rediscovering a 19th-Century Pandemic Strategy," 22 Feb. 2021 The pastor said in order to overcome the negativity that can pervade everyday lives, people must look beyond labels and political parties. CBS News, "Bishop T.D. Jakes spreads message of optimism as families celebrate Christmas during pandemic," 25 Dec. 2020 The essential labor that so many diners never noticed before became visible, as did the inequalities that pervade the American food system. Marcus Samuelsson, WSJ, "Marcus Samuelsson on Restaurants in 2020: Fear, Change—and Hope," 12 Dec. 2020 The lawsuit reflects the vast dissatisfaction with Silicon Valley that has come to pervade all levels of government in the United States. Washington Post, "U.S., states file sweeping antitrust lawsuits against Facebook, setting stage for potential breakup," 28 Oct. 2020

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

26 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pervade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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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