Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun plural The innermost parts of a building, especially the sanctuary of a temple.
  • noun plural The most private or secret parts; recesses.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • The interior parts of anything; specifically, the inner parts of a building, as a temple or palace; hence, a sanctuary, especially the sanctuary of the Penates.
  • Hidden things; secrets.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun plural The recesses, or innermost parts, of any thing or place, especially of a temple or palace.
  • noun plural Hidden things or secrets; privacy; sanctuary.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun The innermost, secret or hidden parts.
  • noun The innermost parts of a building, such as a shrine, recess or a sanctuary within a temple.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun the innermost parts

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin penetrālia, from neuter pl. of penetrālis, inner, from penetrāre, to penetrate; see penetrate.]

Examples

  • Here, when you enter his gloomy penetralia, and invoke his services, the sable-clad and cadaverous- featured shopman asks you, in a sepulchral voice-we are not writing romance, but simple fact - whether you are to be suited for inextinguishable sorrow, or for mere passing grief; and if you are at all in doubt upon the subject, he can solve the problem for you, if you lend him your confidence for the occasion. . .

    Archive 2008-06-01

  • Here, when you enter his gloomy penetralia, and invoke his services, the sable-clad and cadaverous- featured shopman asks you, in a sepulchral voice-we are not writing romance, but simple fact - whether you are to be suited for inextinguishable sorrow, or for mere passing grief; and if you are at all in doubt upon the subject, he can solve the problem for you, if you lend him your confidence for the occasion. . .

    Victorian Funerals and Mourning

  • But the returns also returned a more profound and philosophical truth -- the truth that the self is a layered entity; the truth that there can be reverberations in the penetralia of our hearts that are beyond our ability to grasp or modulate.

    Gordon Marino: Psychologically Processing the Election

  • They did not take to literature and science, because these pursuits require severe work and more or less of a strong bias, for a thorough exposition of their profound penetralia.

    Black and White

  • They did not take to literature and science, because these pursuits require severe work and more or less of a strong bias, for a thorough exposition of their profound penetralia.

    Black and White

  • They did not take to literature and science, because these pursuits require severe work and more or less of a strong bias, for a thorough exposition of their profound penetralia.

    Black and White

  • Understanding that West had gone to great lengths to observe China beyond the treaty ports, this writer praised the artist for showing what he called “penetralia,” or “the inner life and natural scenery” of a country.

    The Romance of China: Excursions to China in U.S. Culture: 1776-1876

  • They did not take to literature and science, because these pursuits require severe work and more or less of a strong bias, for a thorough exposition of their profound penetralia.

    Black and White

  • They did not take to literature and science, because these pursuits require severe work and more or less of a strong bias, for a thorough exposition of their profound penetralia.

    Black and White

  • Cameronian leader, in a voice which seemed to issue from the very penetralia of his person.

    Waverley

Comments

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  • "'And even here,' said Stephen in the cabin, 'even in what seems the true penetralia of the frigate, little is said that does not become known, in a more or less distorted form, throughout the ship by nightfall...'"

    --Patrick O'Brian, The Letter of Marque, 37

    February 27, 2008

  • "Many who have been to Rooms forbidden the others, report seeing, inside these, a Door to at least one Room further, which may not be opened. the Penetralia of the Lodge are thus, even to those employed there, a region without a map."

    Thomas Pynchon, Mason and Dixon, 151.

    August 20, 2008

  • cf. the Penetrata

    July 7, 2009