penetrate, register

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Senior Member
Cantonese, Hong Kong
But then, the full meaning of her words penetrated. A shudder moved through him, cold as ice.

Source: Alone, Gardner Lisa
Rickie had read the paper over several times, lips moving over the words, her brow furrowing before the full meaning registered
Is there any difference between "register" and "penetrate"? Do you think "penetrate" has a connotation of a slower process of realization than "register"?
  • dukaine

    Senior Member
    English - American
    I agree that "penetrate" does connote a slower process, while "register" seems more like the lights came on, and the news "clicked". However, in the contexts you provided, it could be the opposite, depending on how you want to look at it. The "But then..." in the first example says to me that something just clicked, while the reading over and over and the furrowed brow in the second example says that it was a slow realization.
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