Penetrate vs Impinge - What's the difference?

penetrate | impinge |

As verbs the difference between penetrate and impinge

is that penetrate is to enter into; to make way into the interior of; to pierce while impinge is to push (transitive: apply a force to (an object) so that it moves away), thrust, shove.





  • To enter into; to make way into the interior of; to pierce.
  • Light penetrates darkness.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1879, title=The Telephone, the Microphone and the Phonograph
  • , author=Th Du Moncel, page=166, publisher=Harper , passage=He takes the prepared charcoal used by artists, brings it to a white heat, and suddenly plunges it in a bath of mercury, of which the globules instantly penetrate the pores of charcoal, and may be said to metallize it.}}
  • (figuratively) To achieve understanding of, despite some obstacle; to comprehend; to understand.
  • I could not penetrate Burke's opaque rhetoric.
  • * Ray
  • things which here were too subtile for us to penetrate
  • To affect profoundly through the senses or feelings; to move deeply.
  • to penetrate one's heart with pity
  • * M. Arnold
  • The translator of Homer should penetrate himself with a sense of the plainness and directness of Homer's style.
  • To infiltrate an enemy to gather intelligence.
  • To insert the penis into an opening, such as a vagina or anus. (rfex)
  • Derived terms

    * penetration * penetrable




  • To make a physical impact (on); to collide, to crash (upon).
  • * , vol.1, New York Review Books, 2001, p.287:
  • The ordinary rocks upon which such men do impinge and precipitate themselves, are cards, dice, hawks, and hounds […].
  • (figuratively) To interfere with; to encroach (on, upon).
  • *
  • To have an effect upon; to limit.
  • * {{quote-book, year=1913, author=
  • , chapter=4, title= Lord Stranleigh Abroad , passage=“I have tried, as I hinted, to enlist the co-operation of other capitalists, but experience has taught me that any appeal is futile that does not impinge directly upon cupidity. …”}}

    Usage notes

    * The transitive use is less common, not included in many small dictionaries, and not favored by Garner's Modern American Usage (2009).

    Derived terms

    * impingement * impingent * impinger