[ pur-mee-eyt ]
/ ˈpɜr miˌeɪt /
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See synonyms for: permeate / permeated / permeates / permeating on Thesaurus.com

verb (used with object), per·me·at·ed, per·me·at·ing.

to pass into or through every part of: Bright sunshine permeated the room.
to penetrate through the pores, interstices, etc., of.
to be diffused through; pervade; saturate: Cynicism permeated his report.

verb (used without object), per·me·at·ed, per·me·at·ing.

to become diffused; penetrate.



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Origin of permeate

First recorded in 1650–60; from Latin permeātus, past participle of permeāre “to pass through”; see origin at per-, meatus


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does permeate mean?

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. Dye permeates fabric. A smell can permeate a room. An idea can permeate someone’s mind.

The adjective permeable means capable of being permeated, especially by liquids or gases, as in Permeable surfaces should be sealed to prevent leaks. 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: This material has a special coating that won’t allow anything to permeate its surface.

Where does permeate come from?

The first records of the word permeate come from the mid-1600s. It comes 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. In physical contexts, this often involves liquids and gases. It can also be applied to intangible things, like flavors or smells, and abstract things, such as ideas, trends, and aspects of culture.

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What are some other forms related to permeate?

What are some synonyms for permeate?

What are some words that share a root or word element with permeate


What are some words that often get used in discussing permeate?

How is permeate used in real life?

Permeate can be used in the context of tangible, intangible, and abstract things.



Try using permeate!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of permeate?

A. saturate
B. pervade
C. penetrate
D. block

Example sentences from the Web for permeate

British Dictionary definitions for permeate

/ (ˈpɜːmɪˌeɪt) /


to penetrate or pervade (a substance, area, etc)a lovely smell permeated the room
to pass through or cause to pass through by osmosis or diffusionto permeate a membrane

Derived forms of permeate

permeation, nounpermeative, adjective

Word Origin for permeate

C17: from Latin permeāre, from per- through + meāre to pass
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

Medical definitions for permeate

[ pûrmē-āt′ ]


To spread or flow throughout; pervade.
To pass through the openings or interstices of, as a liquid through a membrane.


One that can permeate.

Other words from permeate

perme•ant (-ənt) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.