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

ellipsis

a situation in which words are left out of a sentence but the sentence can still be understood

Word of the Day

Euphemisms (Words used to Avoid Offending People)

by Kate Woodford,
March 04, 2015
​​​ We recently looked at the language that we use to describe lies and lying. One area of lying that we considered was ‘being slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth’. One reason for not speaking the complete truth is to avoid saying something that might upset or offend people. Words and

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More