Word: pervade

Pronunciation: pər-VAYD

Part of Speech: verb

Definition: be present and apparent throughout

Source: Oxford Dictionaries


This is a word I tend to use a lot in my writing. I often need verbs and adjectives to indicate what exists throughout a place or thing, so “pervade” is a good word to keep on my list. Interestingly, I only discovered it recently while studying vocabulary, but I liked it immediately, and I’ve been making good use of it ever since.

Anything that “pervades” somewhere or something is present and apparent in every part of it. The word comes from the Latin verb pervadere, meaning “to spread through”. This verb is comprised of two roots: the preposition per “through” and the verb vadere “to go”.

Note that the dictionary actually gives two separate definitions for “pervade”, one being literal and the other being figurative. When referring to something more perceptible, such as a smell, the word means “spread through and be perceived in every part of”. The slightly different meaning posted above, however, refers more to abstract nouns such as influence, feelings and qualities. Personally, I prefer to use the figurative definition in my writing (usually in the adjective form “pervasive”), though the definitions are so similar that it really doesn’t matter what you use this word for. All that matters is that high quality writing “pervades” your stories!

What are your thoughts on this word? Any suggestions for future “Word of the Week” featured words?

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