penetrate

To penetrate is to force into or pierce through. If the fog is thick as pea soup, your flashlight won’t penetrate it. If you stubbornly ignore good advice, people might say nothing can penetrate that thick skull of yours.

We get penetrate from the Latin word penetrare, which combines penes ("within") and intrare ("to enter"). Penetrate crops up most often to describe entering or permeating. Blaring music penetrated every corner of the dorm and we wondered how anyone could study with that racket. Penetrate can also mean to decipher or understand: "Careful study allowed us to penetrate the mysteries of Pig Latin." Finally — no surprise, given its Latin roots — the word can be used to describe sexual intercourse.

Primary Meanings of penetrate

1.
v
pass into or through, often by overcoming resistance
2.
v
insert the penis into the vagina or anus of
3.
v
enter a group or organization in order to spy on the members
4.
v
come to understand
Full Definitions of penetrate
1

v pass into or through, often by overcoming resistance

“The bullet penetrated her chest”
Synonyms:
perforate
Types:
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hide 48 types...
dig into, poke into, probe
examine physically with or as if with a probe
cut
penetrate injuriously
interpenetrate, permeate
penetrate mutually or be interlocked
strike
pierce with force
break
pierce or penetrate
foray
briefly enter enemy territory
poke into
enter briefly
creep in, sneak in
enter surreptitiously
diffuse, imbue, interpenetrate, permeate, pervade, riddle
spread or diffuse through
honeycomb
penetrate thoroughly and into every part
pierce
make a hole into
pierce, thrust
penetrate or cut through with a sharp instrument
pierce
cut or make a way through
tunnel
force a way through
filter, percolate, permeate, sink in
pass through
grain, ingrain
thoroughly work in
immerse, plunge
thrust or throw into
force, storm
take by force
ooze through
run slowly and gradually
invade
penetrate or assault, in a harmful or injurious way
spiritise, spiritize
imbue with a spirit
poke
make a hole by poking
puncture
pierce with a pointed object; make a hole into
riddle
pierce with many holes
gutter
wear or cut gutters into
prick, prickle
make a small hole into, as with a needle or a thorn
bite
penetrate or cut, as with a knife
stick
pierce or penetrate or puncture with something pointed
stick
pierce with a thrust using a pointed instrument
peg
pierce with a wooden pin or knock or thrust a wooden pin into
break up, pick
attack with or as if with a pickaxe of ice or rocky ground, for example
perforate, punch
make a hole into or between, as for ease of separation
center punch
make a small hole in something as a guide for a drill
empale, impale, spike, transfix
pierce with a sharp stake or point
horn, tusk
stab or pierce with a horn or tusk
gore
wound by piercing with a sharp or penetrating object or instrument
bite, prick, sting
deliver a sting to
dip, douse, dunk, plunge, souse
immerse briefly into a liquid so as to wet, coat, or saturate
dip
plunge (one's hand or a receptacle) into a container
dip
immerse in a disinfectant solution
submerge, submerse
put under water
soak
submerge in a liquid
sheathe
plunge or bury (a knife or sword) in flesh
lance
pierce with a lance, as in a knights' fight
soak through, sop
be or become thoroughly soaked or saturated with a liquid
tap
pierce in order to draw a liquid from
infiltrate
pass into or through by filtering or permeating
infiltrate
cause (a liquid) to enter by penetrating the interstices
Type of:
come in, enter, get in, get into, go in, go into, move into
to come or go into

v spread or diffuse through

“music penetrated the entire building”
Synonyms:
diffuse, imbue, interpenetrate, permeate, pervade, riddle
Types:
spiritise, spiritize
imbue with a spirit
Type of:
perforate
pass into or through, often by overcoming resistance

v make one's way deeper into or through

“The hikers did not manage to penetrate the dense forest”
Type of:
advance, go on, march on, move on, pass on, progress
move forward, also in the metaphorical sense
2

v insert the penis into the vagina or anus of

“Did the molester penetrate the child?”
Type of:
enter, infix, insert, introduce
put or introduce into something
3

v enter a group or organization in order to spy on the members

Synonyms:
infiltrate
Type of:
fall in, get together, join
become part of; become a member of a group or organization
4

v come to understand

Synonyms:
bottom, fathom
Type of:
understand
know and comprehend the nature or meaning of

v become clear or enter one's consciousness or emotions

“she was penetrated with sorrow”
Synonyms:
click, come home, dawn, fall into place, get across, get through, sink in

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