Percolating: Unraveling the Slang Meaning and Etymological Roots

The term “percolate” has evolved beyond its traditional association with coffee brewing, acquiring a slang meaning that has puzzled many. This article delves into the etymological origins and contemporary usage of “percolate” in slang, exploring its historical roots and cultural significance.

Etymological Origins

The word “percolate” traces its roots to the Latin verb “percolare,” meaning “to strain through.” This original meaning referred to the process of passing a liquid through a porous substance, such as filtering coffee or extracting medicinal compounds from herbs.

Slang Meaning of “Percolate”

In slang, “percolate” has taken on a figurative meaning, referring to the gradual spread or development of an idea, feeling, or activity. It implies a slow and steady process of permeation or infiltration.

Historical Evolution of the Slang Usage

The slang usage of “percolate” emerged in the early 20th century, particularly in African American Vernacular English (AAVE). It was initially used to describe the spread of news or gossip within a community. Over time, its meaning expanded to encompass the gradual development of any concept or undertaking.

Contemporary Usage of “Percolate”

Today, “percolate” is widely used in both formal and informal contexts. It can refer to:

  • The gradual spread of ideas or information through society
  • The development of plans or projects over time
  • The emergence of trends or cultural phenomena
  • The slow but steady growth of businesses or organizations

Examples of “Percolate” in Slang

  • “The idea of a universal basic income has been percolating in political circles for years.”
  • “The new album from my favorite band is percolating to the top of the charts.”
  • “The movement for social justice has been percolating in our communities for decades.”
  • “The company’s sales have been percolating steadily over the past few quarters.”

The term “percolate” has undergone a semantic shift, evolving from its original meaning of filtering a liquid to a slang expression denoting the gradual spread or development of ideas, activities, or trends. Its etymological roots in Latin and its historical usage in AAVE have shaped its contemporary meaning, making it a versatile and evocative term in both formal and informal contexts.

Examples of percolate in a Sentence

These examples show how the word “percolate” is currently used. They were gathered programmatically from a variety of internet sources. The examples’ opinions do not necessarily reflect those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

First Known Use: Percolatus, past participle of Latin percolare, from per- through colare to sieve; see also per-, colander

In the sense of the transitive sense 1a Time Traveler, 1626

Dictionary Entries Near percolate

“Percolate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Apr. 2024.

Percolate Meaning – Percolate Definition – Percolate Examples – Semi-Formal Vocabulary – Percolate

What does percolating mean?

The news has begun to percolate through the staff. Click on the arrows to change the translation direction. PERCOLATING meaning: 1. present participle of percolate 2. If a liquid percolates, it moves slowly through a substance…. Learn more.

What is percolate?

Percolate / Percolating, meaning the convulsions/shivers following an orgasm. The word percolate was popularized by rapper Lil Uzi Vert in his post retirement hit single “Free Uzi” where he says “I can make your lil’ bitch just wanna percolate”

What does it mean to percolate through your mind?

All of these thoughts percolated through my mind. When you percolate coffee or when coffee percolates, you prepare it in a percolator. To percolate somewhere means to pass slowly through something that has very small holes or gaps in it. Rain water will only percolate through slowly.

Is percolator a slang word?

percolator (n.) 1795, “one who or that which filters,” agent noun in Latin form from percolate. As a type of coffee-maker, by 1808. American English slang meaning “house party” is recorded from 1946. 1869, a shortened, colloquial form of perquisite (q.v.), also perq. As a verb, 1934 as a shortened and altered form of percolate, also perc.

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