Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “penetrate”

See all translations

penetrate

verb uk   /ˈpen.ɪ.treɪt/ us  

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)
What is the pronunciation of penetrate?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “penetrate” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

lamb

a young sheep, or the flesh of a young sheep eaten as meat

Word of the Day

The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

by Kate Woodford,
March 25, 2015
​​​ This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both. Starting with verbs for walking slowly,

Read More 

stackin’ p

March 30, 2015
idiom slang earning a lot of money ‘That’s a very generous present.”Yeah, well, she’s stackin’ p, innit?’

Read More