Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “penetrate”

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

hello stranger

said to a person that you know but have not seen for a long time

Word of the Day

Come on – you can do it! Phrasal verbs with ‘come’.

by Liz Walter​,
November 19, 2014
As part of an occasional series on the tricky subject of phrasal verbs, this blog looks at ones formed with the verb ‘come’. If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you already know come from, as it is one of the first things you learn in class: I come from Scotland/Spain.

Read More 

silver splicer noun

November 17, 2014
informal a person who marries in later life Newly retired and now newlywed – rise of the ‘silver splicers’ Reaching pension age becomes a trigger to tie the knot as baby-boomers begin to redefine retirement

Read More