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

  • transitive v. To imbue or impregnate thoroughly: "The recollection was saturated with sunshine” ( Vladimir Nabokov). See Synonyms at charge.
  • transitive v. To soak, fill, or load to capacity.
  • transitive v. Chemistry To cause (a substance) to unite with the greatest possible amount of another substance.
  • adj. Saturated.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To cause to become completely penetrated, impregnated, or soaked; imbue.
  • v. To satisfy the affinity of; to cause a substance to become inert by chemical combination with all that it can hold.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Filled to repletion; saturated; soaked.
  • transitive v. To cause to become completely penetrated, impregnated, or soaked; to fill fully; to sate.
  • transitive v. To satisfy the affinity of; to cause to become inert by chemical combination with all that it can hold.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To fill full or to excess; cause to be thoroughly penetrated or imbued; soak: as, to saturate a sponge with water; a mind saturated with prejudice.
  • In chem., to impregnate or unite with till no more can be received: thus, an acid saturates an alkali, and an alkali saturates an acid, when the point of neutralization has been reached, and the mixture is neither acid nor basic in its character.
  • In physics: To bring (a given space or a vapor) into a state of saturation. See saturation .
  • To magnetize (a magnet) to saturation, or so that the intensity of its magnetization is the greatest which it can retain when not under the inductive action of a strong magnetic field.
  • In optics, to render pure, or free from admixture of white light: said of colors.
  • To satisfy.
  • Saturated.
  • In entomology, deep; very intense: applied to colors: as, saturate green, umber, black, etc.

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

  • v. infuse or fill completely
  • v. cause (a chemical compound, vapour, solution, magnetic material) to unite with the greatest possible amount of another substance


Latin saturāre, saturāt-, to fill, from satur, sated; see sā- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin saturatus, perfect passive participle of saturare ("to fill full"), from satur ("full"). (Wiktionary)


  • My new strategy begins like the old, with "shock and awe," but this time let us "saturate" the cities and the villages of Yemen, not with explosives and incendiaries, but rather with food, potable water, clothing, medicines and even money.

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  • Leaving aside the fact that "saturate" could itself be categorized as an imprecise metaphor -- after all, language can presumably accommodate limitless metaphors -- there is, everywhere you look, heightened awareness of the extent to which our opinions, judgments and behavior are shaped by figurative linguistic concepts:

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  • KURTZ: And in terms of that kind of saturate, Peggy Wehmeyer, I've had some Catholics say to me that there had been too much coverage of the pope.

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  • The reason why it is of no use to try to 'saturate' is precisely what the Edinburgh Reviewers have suggested, -- 'THAT THERE IS NO LIMIT

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  • Some scales "saturate", which is to say at some critical size they stop accurately measuring the size of an event.

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  • Apparently it took only a trace of the gas to "saturate" the absorption - that is, in the bands of the spectrum where CO2 blocked radiation, it did it so thoroughly that more gas could make little difference.


  • LATEST: Combined army and police patrols will be deployed to "saturate" Christchurch's quake-hit eastern suburbs and deter opportunist crime. - Stuff

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  • Some of these technologies may allow scientists to directly measure biomass in dense forests-currently many sensing technologies are limited by their tendency to "saturate" at a threshold well below the actual biomass in such forests. News

  • Valve said it will "saturate" New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Los Angeles and San Francisco with the outdoor ads, along with key placements in Minneapolis and Dallas, peaking throughout the month of November.

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