Synonym Chooser

How does the noun penetration differ from other similar words?

Some common synonyms of penetration are acumen, discernment, discrimination, insight, and perception. While all these words mean "a power to see what is not evident to the average mind," penetration implies a searching mind that goes beyond what is obvious or superficial.

lacks the penetration to see the scorn beneath their friendly smiles

When is it sensible to use acumen instead of penetration?

The words acumen and penetration can be used in similar contexts, but acumen implies characteristic penetration combined with keen practical judgment.

a director of reliable box-office acumen

When would discernment be a good substitute for penetration?

The synonyms discernment and penetration are sometimes interchangeable, but discernment stresses accuracy (as in reading character or motives or appreciating art).

the discernment to know true friends

When is discrimination a more appropriate choice than penetration?

In some situations, the words discrimination and penetration are roughly equivalent. However, discrimination stresses the power to distinguish and select what is true or appropriate or excellent.

the discrimination that develops through listening to a lot of great music

When can insight be used instead of penetration?

The meanings of insight and penetration largely overlap; however, insight suggests depth of discernment coupled with understanding sympathy.

a documentary providing insight into the plight of the homeless

When could perception be used to replace penetration?

The words perception and penetration are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, perception implies quick and often sympathetic discernment (as of shades of feeling).

a novelist of keen perception into human motives

Thesaurus Entries Near penetration

Cite this Entry

“Penetration.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

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