View synonyms for permeable


[ pur-mee-uh-buhl ]


  1. capable of being permeated.


/ ˈpɜːmɪəbəl /


  1. capable of being permeated, esp by liquids
“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


/ pûrmē-ə-bəl /

  1. Capable of being passed through or permeated, especially by liquids or gases.

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Derived Forms

  • ˈpermeably, adverb
  • ˈpermeableness, noun
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Other Words From

  • perme·a·ble·ness noun
  • perme·a·bly adverb
  • non·perme·a·ble adjective
  • un·perme·a·ble adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of permeable1

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin permeābilis, equivalent to permeā ( re ) to permeate + -bilis -ble
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Word History and Origins

Origin of permeable1

C15: from Late Latin permeābilis, from Latin permeāre to pervade; see permeate
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Compare Meanings

How does permeable compare to similar and commonly confused words? Explore the most common comparisons:

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Example Sentences

Heat and dehydration also draw more blood away from the gut, making the lining more permeable.

Some kind of surveying mechanism would give landowners credit for permeable parts of their properties while taxing the roofs and driveways that water just runs off.

The reality of anitya extends to whole genomes, which are permeable to genes introduced from other lineages.

Lewis-Williams has suggested that—just like visitors to the caves of Upper Palaeolithic western Europe—the people who built these houses saw the walls as permeable interfaces, or portals to the cosmos’s spirit realms.

At the same time, however, these borders were permeable with a degree of social sanction.

From Time

When the intestine is permeable and inflamed, infectious or toxic substances “leak” through the lining into the blood stream.

Eakin did her best to make the division as permeable as possible.

At the same time, it would become a permeable border for Kashmiris, who could move back and forth easily.

After the first poisoning, the epithelia are permanently injured and remain more permeable to protein.

Blankets are to be employed rather than coverlids, as they are lighter and more permeable to perspiration.

When the ground is too hard to be dug, the Necrophori push the carcase further, till they find permeable soil.

The membrane is, however, permeable to the constituents of sea water or to sugar.

The greater part of the superior lobe was permeable to air, and the interlobular tissue contained carbon, in small, hard granules.


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More About Permeable

What does permeable mean?

Permeable means able to be penetrated or passed through, especially by a liquid or gas.

The verb permeate means to penetrate, pass through, and often become widespread throughout something. Similar words are pervade and saturate.

Permeate can be used both in the context of the physical spread of something within a space and in more figurative ways. Water permeates the soil. Dye permeates fabric. An idea can permeate someone’s mind. In these cases, the fabric and the mind could be described as permeable.

The adjective permeating describes things that have permeated or have the ability to permeate, as in Social media has become a permeating aspect of our lives.

Example: Permeable surfaces should be sealed to prevent leaks.

Where does permeable come from?

The first records of the word permeable come from the 1400s. It comes from the Late Latin permeābilis, from the Latin verb permeāre, meaning “to pass through.”

Things that permeate often pass through some barrier or threshold—physical or otherwise—and then spread out. For this to happen, such barriers, thresholds, and surfaces must be permeable. In physical contexts, this often involves liquids and gases passing through a permeable membrane or surface layer. Permeable can also be applied to physical objects that can absorb intangible things, like flavors or smells.

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How is permeable used in real life?

Permeable is most often used in scientific and technical contexts.



Try using permeable!

Is permeable used correctly in the following sentence?

To penetrate this material, you need to use a permeable liquid.




permeability coefficientpermeameter