From Latin penetratus, past participle of penetrare (“to put, set, or place within, enter, pierce, penetrate”), from penes (“within, with”) + -trare (as in intrare (“to go in, enter”), from intra (“within”)).
- To enter into; to make way into the interior of; to pierce.
- Light penetrates darkness.
1879, Th Du Moncel, The Telephone, the Microphone and the Phonograph, Harper, page 166:
- He takes the prepared charcoal used by artists, brings it to a white heat, and suddenly plunges it in a bath of mercury, of which the globules instantly penetrate the pores of charcoal, and may be said to metallize it.
- (figuratively) To achieve understanding of, despite some obstacle; to comprehend; to understand.
- I could not penetrate Burke's opaque rhetoric.
- things which here were too subtile for us to penetrate
- To affect profoundly through the senses or feelings; to move deeply.
- to penetrate one's heart with pity
- M. Arnold
- The translator of Homer should penetrate himself with a sense of the plainness and directness of Homer's style.
- (Can we find and add a quotation of Shakespeare to this entry?)
- To infiltrate an enemy to gather intelligence.
- To insert the penis into an opening, such as a vagina or anus.
insert the penis into an opening, such as a vagina
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.
Translations to be checked
- Noah Webster (1913), “penetrate”, in Noah Porter, editor, Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam Company
- “penetrate”, in The Century Dictionary, New York: The Century Co., 1911
- penetrate at OneLook Dictionary Search
- present adverbial passive participle of penetri