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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce penetrating (audio)

Dictionary definition of penetrating

Having the ability to enter or pierce through with force or intensity.
"The detective's penetrating questions revealed inconsistencies in the suspect's alibi."

Detailed meaning of penetrating

It suggests a quality of deep or thorough exploration, understanding, or impact. When something is described as penetrating, it implies a level of depth and significance in its influence or effect. It can refer to a sharp or intense sensation, such as a penetrating gaze or a penetrating cold. In a figurative sense, it can describe a thought, idea, or argument that is thought-provoking and has a profound impact on one's thinking. A penetrating analysis or examination delves deeply into a subject matter, revealing hidden truths or shedding light on complex issues. It implies a thoroughness and ability to get to the heart of a matter. Whether in a physical or metaphorical sense, the adjective 'penetrating' suggests a power to reach deep within and leave a lasting impression.

Example sentences containing penetrating

1. The piercing wind cut through my jacket, its penetrating chill seeping into my bones.
2. His penetrating eyes seemed to see through my soul, leaving me feeling exposed and vulnerable.
3. The author's penetrating insights into human nature made the novel a thought-provoking read.
4. She listened intently, her penetrating focus absorbing every word of the speaker.
5. The medicine had a penetrating odor that filled the room as soon as the bottle was opened.
6. The penetrating aroma of freshly brewed coffee greeted me as I entered the café.

History and etymology of penetrating

The adjective 'penetrating' derives its etymological roots from Latin. It can be traced back to the Latin verb 'penetrare,' which means 'to enter' or 'to pierce.' This verb itself is related to the noun 'penna,' meaning 'feather' or 'quill,' and it originally conveyed the idea of something entering or piercing with the sharp point of a feather or quill. Over time, 'penetrare' extended its meaning to describe the act of entering or piercing with force and intensity, whether physically or metaphorically. In the English language, 'penetrating' emerged in the early 17th century to describe something that has the ability to enter or pierce through with great force, depth, or intensity, reflecting the etymological journey of the word from the subtle point of a quill to the powerful force of penetration.

Quiz: Find the meaning of penetrating

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Further usage examples of penetrating

1. His penetrating intellect allowed him to unravel complex scientific theories with ease.
2. The speaker delivered a captivating presentation, capturing the audience's attention with his penetrating voice.
3. The photographer's lens captured the subject's penetrating gaze, conveying a depth of emotion.
4. The journalist's penetrating investigative skills exposed corruption within the government.
5. The surgeon's precision and penetrating precision ensured a successful operation.
6. Her penetrating gaze left no room for secrets.
7. The penetrating aroma of fresh-baked bread filled the kitchen.
8. The detective used his penetrating intuition to solve the case.
9. The penetrating cold of winter chilled him to the bone.
10. The singer's penetrating voice echoed through the concert hall.
11. The scientist used a penetrating laser to analyze the sample.
12. The author's words had a penetrating impact on her readers.
13. The piercing, penetrating wind cut through their clothing.
14. The photographer captured the penetrating beauty of the sunset.
15. His penetrating wit made him the life of the party.
16. The surgeon used a penetrating scalpel for the delicate surgery.
17. The spy's penetrating disguise fooled even the closest observers.
18. The penetrating insight of the speaker resonated with the audience.
19. The piercing, penetrating light of the lighthouse guided ships.
20. Her penetrating questions challenged the status quo.
21. The penetrating scent of pine trees filled the forest.
22. The journalist's penetrating article exposed the truth.
23. The penetrating rays of the sun warmed their faces.
24. His penetrating analysis revealed hidden flaws in the plan.
25. The penetrating rhythm of the drums energized the crowd.



piercing, superficial, dull, shallow


Critical and Analytical, Obstacles and Hardships, Curiosity and Inquiry, Discovery and Exploration, Wisdom and Understanding

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