Definition of penetrating in English:



  • 1Able to make a way through or into something.

    ‘the problem of penetrating damp’
    • ‘A nasty, penetrating wind, and the sting of snizzle in the air once more.’
    • ‘The peninsula is sandwiched between two sea lochs, Loch Fyne to the west and Loch Long to the east - the latter penetrating inland from the Firth of Clyde.’
    • ‘The sound system rolls out bass like a living beast, penetrating flesh and rattling the ribs beneath.’
    • ‘I started wondering about this penetrating chemical presence when some vile organic substance bubbled up from a clogged pipe in our basement floor the day after we moved in.’
    • ‘No longer will your home be plagued by the penetrating effervescence that periodically resounds from the smallest room in the house.’
    • ‘It's turned suddenly rather cold, in that penetrating way that gets into the bones and takes an awful lot of shifting.’
    • ‘As I stood outside the store, battered by the merciless, penetrating wind, I was reminded of days when I'd wear two pairs of pyjamas under my uniform in a vain attempt to keep warm.’
    • ‘I rushed into the living room to see poor Graham getting well and truly damp in a fine, penetrating rain.’
    • ‘The mechanisms often seize through lack of use, but with the wiper motor removed - a relatively simple task - it's possible to get to the problem areas and apply penetrating oil.’
    • ‘Although alpha particles are not a very penetrating form of radiation, when inside the body they can do significant harm to any living cells they happen to pass through.’
    • ‘He has a low, soulful voice with penetrating anger and smarts.’
    • ‘We're looking for ways of penetrating that economic community in an economic fashion.’
    • ‘More often she presents her men and women with such a penetrating, somber empathy that a deliberate affective claustrophobia seizes the reader.’
    • ‘It was really cold, with a sneaky, penetrating breeze to provide an extra wind-chill.’
    • ‘Driven by a penetrating east wind, it drifted until every hollow and depression was filled and the landscape assumed the appearance of a vast white prairie.’
    • ‘Infrared is particularly effective for penetrating thick, murky regions of space and revealing what lies beyond.’
    • ‘Nor is it contended that it results from rising damp or penetrating damp.’
    • ‘Acid or chemical stain is a penetrating stain that chemically etches the color into the concrete for a permanent marble like finish.’
    • ‘The puma nodded once and stepped outside into the penetrating cold.’
    • ‘As it happens, she plays a fierce doubles game, with a steady serve, a sure overhead, penetrating volleys and an occasional blazing return of serve.’
    pungent, pervasive, strong, powerful, suffocating, stifling
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1(of a sound) clearly heard through or above other sounds.
      ‘her scream was sudden and penetrating’
      • ‘Simplistic chord structures and things just very impressive in the way that a lot of old heavy metal music is very penetrating and domineering and drowns things out.’
      • ‘The wooden door burst open as if a bomb exploded behind it, the sound penetrating through the already deafening silence.’
      • ‘He created music of penetrating sadness and beauty, and with only four solo albums released in his career, he had much more to offer.’
      • ‘Tim sat upright at the penetrating noise and flipped in his hammock.’
      • ‘In an instant, he is there once more, with his familiar, intense, penetrating, braying sound.’
      • ‘The horns are very penetrating and to many it is a public nuisance.’
      • ‘Delivering six full songs and other song fragments, her penetrating chest voice and her haunting ornaments in piquant modes were simply stunning.’
      • ‘Some of these songs have a varying beat and indications of some intelligent musicianship, not like the penetrating bass that thunders out from cars and flats wherever you go.’
      • ‘Opening her mouth Lula bellowed a penetrating snarl as her fist drove into the wall hammering a hole through it.’
      • ‘Its penetrating tone could carry far and rise above the fracas.’
      • ‘The penetrating whine of the fighter-bombers and the blast of the missiles overwhelm my brain, robbing me of both understanding and psyche.’
      shrill, strident, piercing, carrying, clearly audible, loud, strong, high, high-pitched, piping, ear-piercing, ear-splitting, screechy, intrusive
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2(of a person's eyes or expression) reflecting an apparent ability to see into another's mind; intense.
      ‘her penetrating gaze’
      • ‘Only at nights did he fear the penetrating eyes of his wife.’
      • ‘I tried very hard that day, but I could not hear what she heard in his voice nor see what she saw in his starkly penetrating eyes.’
      • ‘Or maybe I'm looking at this with a much more penetrating eye than is needed.’
      • ‘The flames of the many candles were mirrored in his deep, penetrating eyes.’
      • ‘He was fairly short, a trifle rotund, with dark penetrating eyes that had a way of roving mercurially over objects under surveillance.’
      • ‘At her mother's penetrating stare, she muttered, ‘sorry’ and inhaled deeply.’
      • ‘He was immediately distinguished by his diminutive figure, extremely long white beard, and dark, penetrating eyes.’
      • ‘I've never seen a child with such cold, penetrating eyes.’
      • ‘He stared at her, his piercing, penetrating gaze shooting right through her, reading her like a book.’
      • ‘Bobby peered into those pale, penetrating eyes, sort of shrugged and gave her a feeble chipmunk smile.’
      • ‘One of the men was clearly a young Bill, with the same penetrating eyes and subdued smile.’
      • ‘I looked at the doctor with penetrating eyes and declared, ‘I'll have this baby by midnight!’’
      • ‘Her penetrating eyes moved to the two siblings, who apparently caught some hidden meaning that Evelyn didn't at watching the elder's haunting gaze.’
      • ‘Above all, a viewer is made very conscious of the penetrating power of the artist's eyes as he stares into the mirror.’
      • ‘There were no secrets that could hide from his penetrating eyes.’
      • ‘Her penetrating eyes landed on her small, black school bag.’
      • ‘He wore a long, rough-looking, black cloak and looked out at you from under his hood with deep brown, penetrating eyes.’
      • ‘His hair is a light brown, with very penetrating eyes, and a slightly brooding look.’
      • ‘They call him a nobleman, but I knew that you, who see people so clearly with your penetrating eyes, would see him for what he was.’
      • ‘They tend to feel warm, have somewhat oily skin, penetrating eyes, and sharp features.’
      observant, searching, intent, alert, shrewd, perceptive, probing, piercing, sharp, keen
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3Having or showing clear insight.
      ‘the students asked some penetrating questions’
      • ‘What is this penetrating insight that leads us to the direct experience of emptiness?’
      • ‘It is not a pedagogical treatise, it is the reflections of an artist upon art in aphorisms of penetrating insight, ready wit, and profound wisdom.’
      • ‘The book ends by posing and answering a series of lucid and penetrating questions that are aimed at about the level of undergraduates and informed general readers.’
      • ‘Expert adversaries, who have the right to receive public answers to their most penetrating questions, police the scientific method.’
      • ‘How could a penetrating or insightful script emerge from such a process, which is more than anything else the working out of different financial and corporate arrangements?’
      • ‘Instead, he is most often regarded as a man of penetrating insight.’
      • ‘As with all aggregate health care data, these statistics were not designed to answer the most penetrating questions.’
      • ‘His penetrating insights into aspects of health policy during the 1950s and 1960s are unsurpassed.’
      • ‘And they asked these kind of penetrating questions that make you understand they really know what's going on.’
      • ‘My discovery, disconcerting though it was, gave me a penetrating insight into style.’
      • ‘He or she allows employees to think for themselves by encouraging them to show initiative, to think critically, to ask penetrating questions about their work.’
      • ‘He had not expected such a penetrating question so quickly.’
      • ‘Note the dramatic narrative and implicit autobiography that emerge from this penetrating insight.’
      • ‘He had both the subtle mind of the metaphysician and the penetrating insight of the disillusioned moralist.’
      • ‘You have to be open to a penetrating insight deeply imbedded in the stuff of language.’
      • ‘He has, with sheer penetrating insight, portrayed the decadent values and human failings of his times in simple but effective words.’
      • ‘To several cohorts of students in Social Studies 10, I can only say that I learned more from your penetrating questions than I probably ever taught you in tutorial.’
      • ‘By depending on the religious inclination of the general public he has evinced extremely penetrating insight.’
      • ‘And I asked him penetrating questions everybody told me not to ask him because that is my nature.’
      • ‘And it's not quite the penetrating insight into the human condition it thinks it is, either.’
      perceptive, insightful, keen, sharp, sharp-witted, quick-witted, intelligent, clever, smart, incisive, piercing, knife-like, razor-edged, trenchant, astute, shrewd, subtle, quick, ready, clear, acute, discriminating, percipient, perspicacious, discerning, sensitive, thoughtful, penetrative, deep, profound
      enquiring, searching, sharp, incisive, probing, deep, inquisitive, analytic, in-depth
      View synonyms