penetrate definition, meaning - what is penetrate in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “penetrate”

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penetrate

verb uk   us   /ˈpen.ɪ.treɪt/

penetrate verb (MOVE INTO)

[I or T] to move into or through something: Amazingly, the bullet did not penetrate his brain. In a normal winter, the frost penetrates deeply enough to kill off insect eggs in the soil. [ T] to succeed in becoming part of an organization, etc. and working within it : The organization had been penetrated by a spy. The company has been successful in penetrating overseas markets this year (= it has started selling its products in them). [I or T] to reach or affect something: These changes had not yet penetrated as far west as the mountains of Merioneth. [T] If your eyes penetrate somewhere dark, you manage to see through it: Our eyes couldn't penetrate the dark/the gloom of the inner cave. [T] When a man penetrates his partner during sex, he puts his penis into his or her body.

penetrate verb (UNDERSTAND)

[I or T] to study or investigate something in order to understand it: It's hard to penetrate her mind. He penetrates deeper into the artist's life in the second volume of his autobiography.
(Definition of penetrate from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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