Synonyms & Antonyms of penetrate

to go or come in or into
  • a needle penetrated the heavy canvas only with great effort

Synonyms for penetrate

Words Related to penetrate

Phrases Synonymous with penetrate

Antonyms for penetrate

See the Dictionary Definition 

Frequently Asked Questions About penetrate

How does the verb penetrate differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of penetrate are enter, pierce, and probe. While all these words mean "to make way into something," penetrate carries a strong implication of an impelling force or compelling power that achieves entrance.

the enemy penetrated the fortress

When would enter be a good substitute for penetrate?

The words enter and penetrate are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, enter is the most general of these and may imply either going in or forcing a way in.

entered the city in triumph

When is pierce a more appropriate choice than penetrate?

While in some cases nearly identical to penetrate, pierce means an entering or cutting through with a sharp pointed instrument.

pierced the boil with a lancet

When can probe be used instead of penetrate?

The synonyms probe and penetrate are sometimes interchangeable, but probe implies penetration to investigate or explore something hidden from sight or knowledge.

probed the depths of the sea

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about penetrate

Time Traveler for penetrate

Time Traveler

The first known use of penetrate was circa 1530

See more words from the same year

Cite this Entry

“Penetrate.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on penetrate

Dictionary: Definition of penetrate

Medical Dictionary: Definition of penetrate

Nglish: Translation of penetrate for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of penetrate for Arabic Speakers

Comments on penetrate

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


Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!