• synonyms


  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


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