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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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 Yet many Hong Kongers readily put their livelihoods at stake Monday, skipping a day of work and even jeopardizing their jobs to signal to the government the growing discontent pervading the territory. Time Staff, Time, "Hong Kongers Go on Strike to Support the 'Revolution of Our Time'," 5 Aug. 2019 The divided-government gridlock that has pervaded all year is hardening as lawmakers turn their focus to their re-election prospects in 2020, but there are three areas where there is potential for action: guns, trade and drug prices. Fortune, "Congress Is Back. Here’s What’s on Its To-Do List," 9 Sep. 2019 These tempting, easy-to-understand Cold War metaphors pervade policy discourse around emerging technologies like artificial intelligence and quantum computing. Wired, "Cold War Analogies are Warping Tech Policy," 5 Sep. 2019 Suddenly, a sense of dread pervaded the visitors’ dugout. Los Angeles Times, "Kenley Jansen blows another save, but Dodgers still come on top in extras," 28 Aug. 2019 Obviously, the Civil War was perhaps the sharpest expression of that conflict between union and disintegration, but American history as a whole has been pervaded by that dialectic. Fred Bauer, National Review, "What the Nationalism vs. Liberalism Debate Misses," 28 Aug. 2019 In contrast to The Cure's dark grooves, dream pop pervaded the fest this year. Rob Schwartz, Billboard, "Fuji Rock Fest Turns 23 With Dream Pop, Punk Rock, Hip-Hop and The Cure," 29 July 2019 Wine has now pervaded every part of Barron’s life — even his museum job. Paul Hodgins, Daily Pilot, "Adult Beverages: Fullerton’s Cellar Restaurant inducted into exclusive Barons de Rothschild club," 25 July 2019 Perhaps the print’s most notable feature is one that remained largely unaddressed in scholarship until changes in cultural attitudes contributed to its greater visibility: namely, the homoeroticism that seems to pervade the picture’s details. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "LGBT artists sent messages from the closet to survive before Stonewall. Now, homophobes are coopting the technique.," 20 June 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

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for pervade

The first known use of pervade was in 1659

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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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