View synonyms for penetrate


[ pen-i-treyt ]

verb (used with object)

, pen·e·trat·ed, pen·e·trat·ing.
  1. to pierce or pass into or through:

    The bullet penetrated the wall. The fog lights penetrated the mist.

  2. to enter the interior of:

    to penetrate a forest.

  3. to enter and diffuse itself through; permeate.
  4. to arrive at the truth or meaning of; understand; comprehend:

    to penetrate a mystery.

    Synonyms: discern, fathom

  5. to obtain a share of (a market):

    to penetrate the Canadian coffee market.

  6. to affect or impress (the mind or feelings) deeply.

    Synonyms: touch

  7. to extend influence, usually peacefully, into the affairs of (another country).

verb (used without object)

, pen·e·trat·ed, pen·e·trat·ing.
  1. to enter, reach, or pass through something, as by piercing:

    We penetrated to the interior of the Kasbah.

  2. to be diffused through something.
  3. to understand or read the meaning of something.
  4. to have a deep effect or impact on someone.


/ ˈpɛnɪˌtreɪt /


  1. to find or force a way into or through (something); pierce; enter
  2. to diffuse through (a substance); permeate
  3. tr to see through

    their eyes could not penetrate the fog

  4. tr (of a man) to insert the penis into the vagina of (a woman)
  5. tr to grasp the meaning of (a principle, etc)
  6. intr to be understood

    his face lit up as the new idea penetrated

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Derived Forms

  • ˈpenetrably, adverb
  • ˈpenetrative, adjective
  • ˈpenetrable, adjective
  • ˈpeneˌtrator, noun
  • ˌpenetraˈbility, noun
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Other Words From

  • pene·trator noun
  • pre·pene·trate verb (used with object) prepenetrated prepenetrating
  • un·pene·trated adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of penetrate1

First recorded in 1520–30; from Latin penetrātus “entered the interior of,” past participle of penetrāre “to enter the interior of,” from penet-, variant stem of penitus “deep down” + -āre, infinitive verb suffix, with the vowel change and addition of -r- probably by analogy with intus “inside,” intrāre “to enter” ( enter ( def ) )
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Word History and Origins

Origin of penetrate1

C16: from Latin penetrāre; related to penitus inner, and penus the interior of a house
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Synonym Study

See pierce.
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Example Sentences

It also helps to penetrate the local market by focusing on local SEO.

She complied out of fear, she testified, and Salsman allegedly penetrated her without consent.

Although Dunn didn’t directly participate, he said members of his Boogaloo faction helped fire up the crowd and “may” have penetrated the building.

If light can’t easily penetrate through the mask, it’s likely an effective one.

Some of the venues may be in cities where Verizon has already installed 5G gear outdoors, but 5G signals don’t penetrate buildings well, requiring additional equipment inside the music venues.

From Fortune

He remains busy trying to penetrate the shield with something much smarter.

How ironic that the Hermit Kingdom is taking the blame for our first real look inside a clique that not even Vice dares penetrate.

How secure could the border possibly be if 5-year-olds can penetrate it?

The leads in Blue Is the Warmest Color scissor in a dozen different positions but we never once see them penetrate each other.

There are some areas in the Bekaa Valley and Hermel where the government and the army have been unable to penetrate.

I shipped for a voyage to Japan and China, and spent several more years trying to penetrate the forbidden fastnesses of Tibet.

Aunty Rosa could penetrate certain kinds of hypocrisy, but not all.

Trevithick's high-pressure steam boring engine enabled him to penetrate the rock five times as fast as the quarryman's power.

One naturally asks, then, To what extent can social reform penetrate into the ordinary operation of industry itself?

The main is here very low, but from the shoalness of the water we were not able to penetrate behind Depuch Island.