Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To spread or flow throughout; pervade: "Our thinking is permeated by our historical myths” ( Freeman J. Dyson). See Synonyms at charge.
  • transitive v. To pass through the openings or interstices of: liquid permeating a membrane.
  • intransitive v. To spread through or penetrate something.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To pass through the pores or interstices of; to penetrate and pass through without causing rupture or displacement; -- applied especially to fluids which pass through substances of loose texture; as, water permeates sand.
  • v. To enter and spread through; to pervade.
  • n. A watery by-product of milk production.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To pass through the pores or interstices of; to penetrate and pass through without causing rupture or displacement; -- applied especially to fluids which pass through substances of loose texture.
  • transitive v. To enter and spread through; to pervade.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pass into or through without rupture or displacement of parts; spread through and fill the openings, pores, and interstices of; hence, to saturate; pervade: as, water permeates sand; the air was permeated with smoke.

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

  • v. pass through
  • v. penetrate mutually or be interlocked
  • v. spread or diffuse through

Etymologies

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

Latin permeāre, permeāt-, to penetrate : per-, through; see per- + meāre, to pass; see mei-1 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Latin permeātus, participle of permeāre, meaning to pass through.

Examples

  • The permeate is processed to remove the lactose, which is used to create ethanol.

    Using Lactose to Make Biofuel

  • Quoting experts who have clear political biases, speculating about how one's theology would influence their public policy and poor use of important labels permeate the coverage of Palin.

    GetReligion

  • Metaphors permeate our emotional lives so deeply that "permeate" might be the wrong word; from one perspective, they're what those lives consist of, and bad ones land us in trouble.

    This column will change your life: Sealing off worries

  • Mr. GARZA: We have a big record collection, and you know, the sounds kind of permeate every corner of the globe.

    Thievery Corporation Churns Beats Of 'Retaliation'

  • He encouraged the students to "permeate" themselves with "the full spirit of the age" if they hoped to give architecture "true art forms."

    Chicago Reader

  • Does this act of hypocrisy "permeate" the red-state electorate?

    DailyHowler.com

  • The feeling of loss is one that can easily permeate throughout all areas of your life.

    Turn up the Happiness! « Being En Pointe

  • To create those noxious odors would mean it would be too intense at the source and permeate the whole valley, company project manager Mark Patton says.

    Calif. town battles overpowering odors

  • Vampires don't do much for me, in any case, as I'm not a fan of submission games or any of that "My Master" subtext that seems to permeate the genre.

    True Blood --- No Spoilers Please

  • The powerful menthol fumes from the Vicks hardly masked the sickening reek of death in the old warehouse, that seemed to permeate every olfactory nerve in my body.

    A DAY AT THE FUR AUCTION • by Stephen Taylor

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