AskDefine | Define penetrating

Dictionary Definition

penetrating adj
1 having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions; "an acute observer of politics and politicians"; "incisive comments"; "icy knifelike reasoning"; "as sharp and incisive as the stroke of a fang"; "penetrating insight"; "frequent penetrative observations" [syn: acute, discriminating, incisive, keen, knifelike, penetrative, piercing, sharp]
2 tending to penetrate; having the power of entering or piercing; "a toxic penetrative spray applied to the surface"; "a cold penetrating wind"; "a penetrating odor" [syn: penetrative]

User Contributed Dictionary




  1. able to pierce or penetrate
    The skunk produces a penetrating odor.
  2. demonstrating acute or keen understanding
    His novel shows a penetrating insight into the criminal mind.


able to pierce or penetrate
demonstrating keen understanding


  1. present participle of penetrate

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Siberian, absorbing, acerb, acerbate, acerbic, acid, acidic, acidulent, acidulous, acrid, acrimonious, acute, algid, apperceptive, appercipient, arctic, argute, asperous, astringent, astute, below zero, biting, bitter, bitterly cold, bleak, boreal, brisk, brumal, caustic, clear-cut, clever, cogent, cold, cold as charity, cold as death, cold as ice, cold as marble, corroding, corrosive, creaky, crisp, cutting, deafening, deep, deep-felt, deepgoing, discerning, discriminating, double-edged, driving, ear-piercing, ear-splitting, edged, effective, escharotic, farseeing, farsighted, fierce, forceful, forcible, foreseeing, foresighted, forethoughted, forethoughtful, freezing, freezing cold, frigid, gelid, glacial, gutsy, harsh, heartfelt, hibernal, hiemal, homefelt, howling, hyperborean, ice-cold, ice-encrusted, icelike, icy, imperative, impressive, incisive, inclement, indelible, ingoing, intelligent, intense, irritating, keen, keening, longheaded, longsighted, loud, mordacious, mordant, nervous, nipping, nippy, nose-piercing, nose-tickling, numbing, perceptive, percipient, perspicacious, perspicuous, pervading, pervasive, piercing, pinching, piping, piquant, poignant, powerful, profound, provident, punchy, pungent, quick, quick-witted, raw, reedy, reeking, rigorous, rough, sagacious, scathing, scorching, screaky, screeching, screechy, searching, sensational, sensitive, severe, sharp, sharp-sighted, sharp-witted, shrieking, shrieky, shrill, sinewed, sinewy, slashing, sleety, slushy, smart, snappy, sour, squeaking, squeaky, stabbing, stinging, stone-cold, strident, striking, stringent, strong, strong-scented, strong-smelling, subzero, suffocating, supercooled, tart, telling, thin, thundering, trenchant, ululant, understanding, vehement, vigorous, violent, virulent, vital, vitriolic, wailing, whining, whistling, winterbound, winterlike, wintery, wintry, withering
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