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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Pen·e·trate v. t. [imp. & p. p. Penetrated p. pr. & vb. n. Penetrating.]
 1. To enter into; to make way into the interior of; to effect an entrance into; to pierce; as, light penetrates darkness.
 2. To affect profoundly through the senses or feelings; to touch with feeling; to make sensible; to move deeply; as, to penetrate one's heart with pity.
    The translator of Homer should penetrate himself with a sense of the plainness and directness of Homer's style.   --M. Arnold.
 3. To pierce into by the mind; to arrive at the inner contents or meaning of, as of a mysterious or difficult subject; to comprehend; to understand.
    Things which here were too subtile for us to penetrate.   --Ray.