1) ADJ-GRADED A penetrating sound is loud and usually high-pitched.

Mary heard the penetrating bell of an ambulance...

Her voice was nasal and penetrating.

2) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n If someone gives you a penetrating look, it makes you think that they know what you are thinking.

He gazed at me with a sharp, penetrating look that made my heart pound.

...dark penetrating eyes.

3) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n Someone who has a penetrating mind understands and recognizes things quickly and thoroughly.

...a thoughtful, penetrating mind...

He never stopped asking penetrating questions.

sharp, keen

English dictionary. 2008.

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  • penetrating — [pen′itrāt΄ivpen′i trāt΄iŋ] adj. 1. that can penetrate [a penetrating oil] 2. sharp; piercing [a penetrating sound or smell] 3. keen or acute; discerning [a penetrating mind]: Also penetrative [pen′itrāt΄iv] penetratingly adv. penetratively …   English World dictionary

  • Penetrating — Pen e*tra ting, a. 1. Having the power of entering, piercing, or pervading; sharp; subtile; penetrative; as, a penetrating odor. [1913 Webster] 2. Acute; discerning; sagacious; quick to discover; as, a penetrating mind. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • penetrating — [adj1] stinging, harsh biting, carrying, clear cut, crisp, cutting, edged, entering, forcing, going through, infiltrating, ingoing, intrusive, passing through, penetrant, permeating, pervasive, piercing, pointed, puncturing, pungent, sharp,… …   New thesaurus

  • penetrating — index acute, incisive, interrogative, mordacious, perspicacious, potent, profound (esoteric), profoun …   Law dictionary

  • penetrating — pen|e|trat|ing [ˈpenıtreıtıŋ] adj 1.) penetrating look/eyes/gaze etc a look etc which makes you feel uncomfortable and seems to see inside your mind ▪ a pair of penetrating dark eyes ▪ He gave her a penetrating stare. 2.) showing an ability to… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • penetrating — pen|e|trat|ing [ penə,treıtıŋ ] adjective 1. ) seeming to be able to know what you are thinking: a penetrating look/gaze/stare a ) a penetrating voice or sound is so high or loud that it makes you slightly uncomfortable b ) affecting you by… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • penetrating — adjective 1 penetrating look/eyes/gaze a look etc which makes you feel uncomfortable and seems to see inside your mind: an attempt to avoid her husband s penetrating gaze 2 a penetrating sound is loud, clear, and often unpleasant: a penetrating… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • penetrating — UK [ˈpenəˌtreɪtɪŋ] / US adjective 1) a penetrating look makes you feel that the person knows what you are thinking His penetrating stare made her feel uncomfortable. 2) a penetrating voice or sound is so high or loud that it makes you slightly… …   English dictionary

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