Intracellular transduction of hydrophilic macromolecules has been problematic owing to the biochemical restriction imposed by lipid bilayer of the cytoplasmic membrane. Several technologies have been developed to improve the intracellular delivery of the large molecules for therapeutic purpose, including cell penetrating peptide. Cell penetrating peptides or cell permeable peptides (CPPs) were initially discovered based on the potency of certain full-length proteins or proteins to translocate across the plasma membrane. Currently, CPPs are broadly applied for intracellular delivery of biologically functional molecules in vivo and vitro, varying from small molecules, peptides, proteins, liposomes and nucleic acids. With introducing the history and characteristics of CPPs, this review will focus on the intracellular transduction mechanism and application of CPPs.