permeate

permeate, pervade, penetrate, impenetrate, interpenetrate, impregnate, saturate can all mean to pass or cause to pass through every part of a thing.
Permeate may be used in reference to either a material or an immaterial thing and implies diffusion through all the pores or interstices of some substance or entity
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the rain has permeated the soil

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the air is permeated by the pungent scent of tobacco— Amer. Guide Series: N. C.

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in . . . the Elizabethan age, English society at large was accessible to ideas, was permeated by them— Arnold

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the sense of beauty had permeated the whole nation— Binyon

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the religious issue permeated every meeting I conducted— Michener

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Pervade is a very close synonym of permeate, but it distinctively carries a heightened suggestion of diffusion throughout every part or parcel of the whole and it is more often used in reference to such matters as places, writings, and works of art than to purely material things
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a deep and solemn harmony pervades the hollow vale from steep to steep— Wordsworth

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a principle which so entirely pervades the constitution ... as to be incapable of being separated from it— John Marshall

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a kind of easy morality seems to pervade all levels of the state government— Armbrister

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Penetrate (see also ENTER 1) may be preferred to permeate or pervade when there is the intent also to suggest the entrance of something that goes deeply or profoundly into the essence or nature of a thing, thereby giving it its characteristic quality or efficient force
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a whole nation . . . penetrated with an enthusiasm for pure reason, and with an ardent zeal for making its prescriptions triumph— A rnoId

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a letter penetrated with affection for the old plain edifice and its memories— Quiller-Couch

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a commanding significance, which penetrates the whole, informing and ordering everything— Leavis

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Impenetrate is an intensive of penetrate implying a more thorough and often a diffusive penetration
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power to isolate and impenetrate Yo\a.n {\—Gunther

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the church structure is backed up and impenetrated by the kinship structure— Vogt & O'Dea

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Interpenetrate, too, may imply no more than thorough penetration or penetration into, within, or throughout
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Westerners who interpenetrated the East in the nineteenth century— Da vis

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but distinctively it may imply a mutual penetration
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the state and the economy interpenetrate; during slump, war, and boom, the tie-ins tend to become ever closer— Labor and Nation

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had both imagination and a stubborn will, curiously balancing and interpenetrating each other— Cather

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Impregnate often carries a stronger implication of the operation of a causative power (as a human agent) than any of the preceding terms; it also suggests a filling of every available part or portion of a whole so that the thing which enters or is entered is diffused throughout the entire substance, structure, work, or group
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the water is impregnated with magnesia— Huxley

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any judge who has sat with juries knows that . . . they are extremely likely to be impregnated by the environing atmosphere— Justice Holmes

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a very notable poem impregnated with the pessimism of a time— Lovett

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Saturate (see also SOAK)implies impregnation to the point where no more of the thing which enters can be taken up or absorbed; the term is often used in preference to permeate or pervade when what permeates or pervades is highly obvious, deeply ingrained, or overabundant
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the smell, sweet and poignant beyond imagining, saturated the air— Wouk

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verse that is saturated with emotion— Lowes

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the air is saturated with golden light— Diamant

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Analogous words: *infuse, imbue, ingrain: drench, steep, *soak, saturate: *inform, animate, inspire, fire

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Permeate — Per me*ate, v. t. [imp. & p. p. {Permeated}; p. pr. & vb. n. {Permeating}.] [L. permeatus, p. p. of permeare to permeate; per + meare to go, pass.] 1. To pass through the pores or interstices of; to penetrate and pass through without causing… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • permeate — I verb bathe, diffuse, drench, fill, go through, imbue, impregnate, infiltrate, infuse, inject, interpenetrate, leaven, osmose, overrun, overspread, pass through, penetrate, percolate, pervade, run through, saturate, seep, soak, souse, spread… …   Law dictionary

  • permeate — (v.) 1650s, from L. permeatus, pp. of permeare to pass through (see PERMEABLE (Cf. permeable)). Related: Permeated; permeating …   Etymology dictionary

  • permeate — [v] filter, spread throughout charge, diffuse, drench, fill, go through, imbue, impregnate, infiltrate, infuse, ingrain, interfuse, invade, pass through, penetrate, percolate, pervade, pierce, saturate, seep, soak, stab, stalk, steep, suffuse,… …   New thesaurus

  • permeate — ► VERB ▪ spread throughout; pervade. DERIVATIVES permeation noun permeator noun. ORIGIN Latin permeare pass through …   English terms dictionary

  • permeate — [pʉr′mē āt΄] vt. permeated, permeating [< L permeatus, pp. of permeare < per, through + meare, to glide, flow, pass < IE base * mei , to go, change, wander > Czech mijeti, to pass by] to pass into or through and affect every part of;… …   English World dictionary

  • permeate — per|me|ate [ˈpə:mieıt US ˈpə:r ] v [Date: 1600 1700; : Latin; Origin: , past participle of permeare to go through ] 1.) [I always + adverb/preposition, T] if liquid, gas etc permeates something, it enters it and spreads through every part of it ▪ …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • permeate — UK [ˈpɜː(r)mɪeɪt] / US [ˈpɜrmɪˌeɪt] verb Word forms permeate : present tense I/you/we/they permeate he/she/it permeates present participle permeating past tense permeated past participle permeated 1) [transitive] if an attitude or feeling… …   English dictionary

  • permeate — verb Permeate is used with these nouns as the subject: ↑attitude Permeate is used with these nouns as the object: ↑society, ↑whole …   Collocations dictionary

  • permeate — [[t]pɜ͟ː(r)mieɪt[/t]] permeates, permeating, permeated 1) VERB If an idea, feeling, or attitude permeates a system or permeates society, it affects every part of it or is present throughout it. [V n] Bias against women permeates every level of… …   English dictionary

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