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See more synonyms for penetrating on Thesaurus.com
  1. able or tending to penetrate; piercing; sharp: a penetrating shriek; a penetrating glance.
  2. acute; discerning: a penetrating observation.
  3. Surgery. noting a wound that pierces the skin, especially a deep wound entering an organ or body cavity.
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Also penetrant.

Origin of penetrating

First recorded in 1590–1600; penetrate + -ing2
Related formspen·e·trat·ing·ly, adverbpen·e·trat·ing·ness, nounnon·pen·e·trat·ing, adjectiveun·pen·e·trat·ing, adjectiveun·pen·e·trat·ing·ly, adverb


See more synonyms for penetrating on Thesaurus.com
2. keen, sharp. See acute.


1. blunt. 2. obtuse.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for non-penetrating

Historical Examples

  • Gunshot wounds of the chest may conveniently be divided for study into two classes, viz., non-penetrating and penetrating.

    A Treatise on Gunshot Wounds

    Thomas Longmore

  • Non-penetrating wounds require but few remarks in this place.

British Dictionary definitions for non-penetrating


  1. tending to or able to penetratea penetrating mind; a penetrating voice
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Derived Formspenetratingly, adverb
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 non-penetrating



"touching the feelings intensely," 1630s, figurative present participle adjective from penetrate (v.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper