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 Questionable results also pervade the business literature on sustainability. Harry G. Broadman, Forbes, 29 Aug. 2021 The murder of George Floyd in May of 2020, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, sparked a global wave of awareness about the systemic inequalities that pervade virtually every aspect of society. Paolo Gaudiano, Forbes, 21 Sep. 2021 Her work, together with further wavelet developments, was instrumental to the invention of image-compression algorithms, like the JPEG2000, that pervade the digital age. New York Times, 14 Sep. 2021 If arguments and hard conversations pervade a couple’s time together, a healthy ratio can drop off. Rhaina Cohen, The Atlantic, 13 Sep. 2021 While the innovation of the talking home didn’t pervade the real estate and homebuilding markets, a few other talking homes cropped up in News classifieds over the years: one in Arlington in 1956 and two in Dallas in 1951 and 1957, respectively. Dallas News, 12 Aug. 2021 Fairly or not, suspicions of cheating will continue to pervade the sport. Sean Gregory/tokyo, Time, 1 Aug. 2021 Emerging from the crisis of COVID-19 gives us an opportunity to rethink our public schools, to simultaneously the structural inequalities that pervade the system, and prepare it for the climate emergency ahead. Time, 30 July 2021 In addition to genetic architecture, cats share our homes, our diets, our behaviors, many of our microscopic pests, and some of the chronic diseases—including diabetes and heart problems—that pervade Western life. Katherine J. Wu, The Atlantic, 28 July 2021

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

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The first known use of pervade was in 1659

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pervalvar axis

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Last Updated

11 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pervade.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce pervade (audio) \
pervaded; pervading

Kids Definition of pervade

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pervade

Nglish: Translation of pervade for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pervade for Arabic Speakers


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