9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[v. pur-kuh-leyt; n. pur-kuh-lit, -leyt] /v. ˈpɜr kəˌleɪt; n. ˈpɜr kə lɪt, -ˌleɪt/
verb (used with object), percolated, percolating.
to cause (a liquid) to pass through a porous body; filter.
(of a liquid) to filter through; permeate.
to brew (coffee) in a percolator.
verb (used without object), percolated, percolating.
to pass through a porous substance; filter; ooze; seep; trickle.
to become percolated:
The coffee is starting to percolate.
to become active, lively, or spirited.
to show activity, movement, or life; grow or spread gradually; germinate:
Interest in the idea has begun to percolate.
a percolated liquid.
Origin of percolate
1620-30; < Latin percōlātus, past participle of percōlāre to filter. See per-, colander, -ate1
Related forms
percolable, adjective
percolative, adjective
unpercolated, adjective
Pronunciation note
The pronunciation of percolate as
[pur-kyuh-leyt] /ˈpɜr kyəˌleɪt/ (Show IPA)
with an intrusive y -glide, results from analogy with words like circulate and matriculate, where the unstressed vowel following the k -sound is symbolized by a u spelling, making the y -glide mandatory. In similar words where
[k] /k/
is followed by some other vowel, the [y] /y/ represents a hypercorrection. The pronunciation of escalate as [es-kyuh-leyt] /ˈɛs kyəˌleɪt/ is another such example. See coupon, new. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for percolate
  • The news of this progress will percolate into the department as a whole.
  • The challenge is to sustain and percolate the impetus.
  • In other words, read the book and let the advice percolate.
  • Now efforts to promote iced coffee consumption at home are beginning to percolate.
  • His response was that on margin no, it would be better to leave it, and let the news percolate on its own.
  • In big companies, decisions generally percolate up from the middle or even the bottom rather than being handed down from the top.
  • The cracks in the seafloor allow water to percolate through the ocean crust where it is heated by nearby chambers of magma.
  • Trump's name began to percolate in the news media as a presidential hopeful.
  • We no longer boil grounds campfire style or percolate them genteel style in the pot.
  • But the idea has yet to percolate down into undergraduate programs, though the advantages would be even more pronounced.
British Dictionary definitions for percolate


verb (ˈpɜːkəˌleɪt)
to cause (a liquid) to pass through a fine mesh, porous substance, etc, or (of a liquid) to pass through a fine mesh, porous substance, etc; trickle: rain percolated through the roof
to permeate; penetrate gradually: water percolated the road
(intransitive) (US, informal) to become active or lively: she percolated with happiness
to make (coffee) or (of coffee) to be made in a percolator
noun (ˈpɜːkəlɪt; -ˌleɪt)
a product of percolation
Derived Forms
percolable (ˈpɜːkələbəl) adjective
percolation, noun
percolative, adjective
Word Origin
C17: from Latin percolāre, from per + cōlāre to strain, from cōlum a strainer; see colander
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for percolate

1620s, a back-formation from percolation, or else from Latin percolatus, past participle of percolare "to strain through." Figurative sense by 1670s. Related: Percolated; percolating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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percolate in Medicine

percolate per·co·late (pûr'kə-lāt')
v. per·co·lat·ed, per·co·lat·ing, per·co·lates

  1. To cause a liquid to pass slowly through a porous substance or small holes; filter.

  2. To drain or seep through.

  3. To cause a solvent liquid to pass through a mixture, such as a powdered drug, so as to extract the soluble portion.

n. (-lĭt, -lāt')
A liquid that has been percolated.
per'co·la'tion n.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Slang definitions & phrases for percolate


  1. To run smoothly and well: The little engine was percolating nicely (1925+)
  2. To saunter; stroll; ooze: Percolate on down the Avenue (1942+ Black)

[all senses fr the coffee-making device; sense of ''run well,'' for example, fr the steady cheery bubbling of the coffeemaker]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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