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verb (used with object), per·me·at·ed, per·me·at·ing.
  1. to pass into or through every part of: Bright sunshine permeated the room.
  2. to penetrate through the pores, interstices, etc., of.
  3. to be diffused through; pervade; saturate: Cynicism permeated his report.
verb (used without object), per·me·at·ed, per·me·at·ing.
  1. to become diffused; penetrate.

Origin of permeate

1650–60; < Latin permeātus past participle of permeāre to pass through. See per-, meatus
Related formsper·me·a·tion, nounper·me·a·tive, adjectiveper·me·a·tor, nounin·ter·per·me·ate, verb (used with object), in·ter·per·me·at·ed, in·ter·per·me·at·ing.non·per·me·a·tion, nounnon·per·me·a·tive, adjectiveun·per·me·at·ed, adjectiveun·per·me·at·ing, adjectiveun·per·me·a·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for permeation

Historical Examples

  • And prayer is the communion by which this permeation becomes possible.

    The Whence and the Whither of Man</p>

    John Mason Tyler

  • Being the most subtile, He must permeate all—for the greater the subtlety, the greater the quality of permeation.

    Letters from a Sf Teacher

    Shaikh Sharfuddn Maner

  • From the first they committed themselves to the policy of "permeation," instead of aggressive propaganda.

  • Even without the latter support the cultivating civilization of China has enormous powers of permeation and extension.

  • But even in regions where European control is still nominal, the permeation of Westernism has gone on apace.

    The New World of Islam

    Lothrop Stoddard

British Dictionary definitions for permeation


  1. to penetrate or pervade (a substance, area, etc)a lovely smell permeated the room
  2. to pass through or cause to pass through by osmosis or diffusionto permeate a membrane
Derived Formspermeation, nounpermeative, adjective

Word Origin

C17: from Latin permeāre, from per- through + meāre to pass
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for permeation


1620s, noun of action from Latin permeare (see permeate).



1650s, from Latin permeatus, past participle of permeare "to pass through" (see permeable). Related: Permeated; permeating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

permeation in Medicine


([object Object])
  1. The process of spreading through or penetrating, as in the extension of a malignant neoplasm by continuous proliferation of the cells along the blood or lymph vessels.


([object Object])
  1. To spread or flow throughout; pervade.
  2. To pass through the openings or interstices of, as a liquid through a membrane.
  1. One that can permeate.
Related formsperme•ant (-ənt) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.