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See more synonyms for permeate on Thesaurus.com
verb (used with object), per·me·at·ed, per·me·at·ing.
  1. to pass into or through every part of: Bright sunshine permeated the room.
  2. to penetrate through the pores, interstices, etc., of.
  3. to be diffused through; pervade; saturate: Cynicism permeated his report.
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verb (used without object), per·me·at·ed, per·me·at·ing.
  1. to become diffused; penetrate.
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Origin of permeate

1650–60; < Latin permeātus past participle of permeāre to pass through. See per-, meatus
Related formsper·me·a·tion, nounper·me·a·tive, adjectiveper·me·a·tor, nounin·ter·per·me·ate, verb (used with object), in·ter·per·me·at·ed, in·ter·per·me·at·ing.non·per·me·a·tion, nounnon·per·me·a·tive, adjectiveun·per·me·at·ed, adjectiveun·per·me·at·ing, adjectiveun·per·me·a·tive, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

suffuse, seep, saturate, impregnate, pervade, percolate, infuse, penetrate, steep, invade, infiltrate, imbue, drench, pierce, ingrain, soak, charge, stalk, stab, transfuse

Examples from the Web for permeate

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • It is this which enables fire and air to permeate the flesh.



  • The fumes of bad tobacco and whisky began to permeate the closet.

    Canoe Boys and Campfires

    William Murray Graydon

  • When they are counted by hundreds, we can permeate and trim and compromise.

    British Socialism

    J. Ellis Barker

  • The truth that he taught was a truth that was to permeate every thought and every act of life.

  • The aromatic quality of the odours that permeate the air suggests that word.

British Dictionary definitions for permeate


  1. to penetrate or pervade (a substance, area, etc)a lovely smell permeated the room
  2. to pass through or cause to pass through by osmosis or diffusionto permeate a membrane
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Derived Formspermeation, nounpermeative, adjective

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for permeate


1650s, from Latin permeatus, past participle of permeare "to pass through" (see permeable). Related: Permeated; permeating.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

permeate in Medicine


  1. To spread or flow throughout; pervade.
  2. To pass through the openings or interstices of, as a liquid through a membrane.
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  1. One that can permeate.
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Related formsperme•ant (-ənt) null adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.