[ pen-i-trey-ting ]
/ ˈpɛn ɪˌtreɪ tɪŋ /


able or tending to penetrate; piercing; sharp: a penetrating shriek; a penetrating glance.
acute; discerning: a penetrating observation.
Surgery. noting a wound that pierces the skin, especially a deep wound entering an organ or body cavity.
Also penetrant.

Origin of penetrating

First recorded in 1590–1600; penetrate + -ing2

OTHER WORDS FROM penetrating

Definition for penetrating (2 of 2)

[ pen-i-treyt ]
/ ˈpɛn ɪˌtreɪt /

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

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

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


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

synonym study for penetrate

1. See pierce. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for penetrating

British Dictionary definitions for penetrating (1 of 2)

/ (ˈpɛnɪˌtreɪtɪŋ) /


tending to or able to penetratea penetrating mind; a penetrating voice

Derived forms of penetrating

penetratingly, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for penetrating (2 of 2)

/ (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