[ pen-i-treyt ]
/ ˈpɛn ɪˌtreɪt /
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See synonyms for: penetrate / penetrated / penetrates / penetrating on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), pen·e·trat·ed, pen·e·trat·ing.

verb (used without object), pen·e·trat·ed, pen·e·trat·ing.



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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of penetrate

1520–30; <Latin penetrātus (past participle of penetrāre), equivalent to penet-, variant stem of penitus deep down + -r- (probably by analogy with intus inside: intrāre to enter) + -ātus + -ate1

synonym study for penetrate

1. See pierce.


pen·e·tra·tor, nounpre·pen·e·trate, verb (used with object), pre·pen·e·trat·ed, pre·pen·e·trat·ing.un·pen·e·trat·ed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for penetrate

British Dictionary definitions for penetrate

/ (ˈpɛnɪˌtreɪt) /


to find or force a way into or through (something); pierce; enter
to diffuse through (a substance); permeate
(tr) to see throughtheir eyes could not penetrate the fog
(tr) (of a man) to insert the penis into the vagina of (a woman)
(tr) to grasp the meaning of (a principle, etc)
(intr) to be understoodhis face lit up as the new idea penetrated

Derived forms of penetrate

Word Origin for penetrate

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