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What is a single word which means "To flow or cause to spread every part of the body"?

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There isn't one in English. Is there one in another language? – John Lawler May 21 '13 at 17:04
Ambiguity! Is it "(to flow) or (to cause to spread to every part of the body)" or is it "(to flow to every part of the body) or (to cause to spread to every part of the body)"? – Kaz May 21 '13 at 22:22
up vote 1 down vote accepted

Within a specific context, these words can all be used for this purpose:


2: to spread or distribute from a fixed or constant source: as

a archaic : disseminate

b : to subject (as light) to dispersion

c : to distribute (as fine particles) more or less evenly throughout a medium



3 a : to fill completely with something that permeates or pervades b : to load to capacity

Definitions from M-W Online Dictionary

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I still like "disseminate" better than the others. – Noah May 21 '13 at 17:33
Thanks for your response. – emjay May 21 '13 at 17:57
@Noah disseminate is An adaptation of Latin dissēmināt-, the perfect passive participial stem of dissēminō (“I broadcast”, “I disseminate”), from dis- (“in all directions”) + sēminō (“I plant”, “I sow”), from sēmen (“seed”). It doesn't really synonomise well with Disperse, at least from my experience of their usage. – Pureferret May 21 '13 at 22:00

Permeate, in its sense “To enter and spread through; to pervade”, may serve. Also consider infuse, in its sense “To cause to become an element of something; to insert or fill”.

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Perfuse, definition 3, means "Surgery. to pass (fluid) through blood vessels or the lymphatic system."

This contains the sense of something being spread through the body, as well as the sense of someone (the surgeon) causing it to flow.

I have heard it used on a documentary in the context of a surgeon reattaching a patient's severed hand, and the surgeon's sense of relief when he saw the blood perfusing the hand.

You might also look at this online medical dictionary for further use of perfusion.

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The closest word might be Propagate which is used in biology often and means to spread and multiply. Another word that gets close is Saturate as in "saturate the body".

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I would suggest permeate which includes the meaning of being in every part of a body.

To flow to every part of the body seems quite a different meaning to me than to cause to spread to every part of the body.

I cannot think of anything other than 'causing X to permeate' or similar.

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