Meaning of “penetrate” in the English Dictionary

"penetrate" in British English

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uk /ˈpen.ɪ.treɪt/ us /ˈpen.ə.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.

(Definition of “penetrate” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"penetrate" in American English

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penetrateverb [ I/T ]

us /ˈpen·ɪˌtreɪt/

penetrate verb [ I/T ] (MOVE)

to move into or through something:

[ I ] The drill isn’t sharp enough to penetrate into the rock.
[ T ] Women have begun to penetrate a lot of fields that were dominated by men for centuries.

penetrate verb [ I/T ] (UNDERSTAND)

to understand something, or to be understood as a result of study or investigation:

[ I ] Her writing penetrated to the heart of contemporary life.
noun [ U ] us /ˌpen·ɪˈtreɪ·ʃən/

The program’s penetration in Utah schools varies from district to district.

(Definition of “penetrate” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"penetrate" in Business English

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penetrateverb [ T ]

uk /ˈpenɪtreɪt/ us MARKETING, COMMERCE

to begin to sell products or services in a new area or to a new group of customers:

The company is beginning to penetrate Asian markets.

(Definition of “penetrate” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)