\ˈpər \

Definition of per 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1 : by the means or agency of : through per bearer

2 : with respect to every member of a specified group : for each

3 : according to often used with as per instructionsas per usual



Definition of per (Entry 2 of 4)

: for each : apiece a bargain at $3.50 per

Definition of per (Entry 3 of 4)

1 period

2 person



Definition of per- (Entry 4 of 4)

1 : throughout : thoroughly peruse

2a : containing the largest possible or a relatively large proportion of a (specified) chemical element perchloroethylene

b : containing an element in its highest or a high oxidation state perchloric acid

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for per

Synonyms: Preposition

by, in, through, via, with

Synonyms: Adverb

all, apiece, each, per capita

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Using Per as a Preposition: Usage Guide


Per occurs most frequently in business contexts; its use outside such contexts is often criticized but is quite widespread, especially in sense 2. Its most common and natural nonbusiness uses always involve figures, usually in relation to price $150 per performance , automobiles 32 miles per gallon 55 miles per hour , or sports. averages 15 points and 9 rebounds per game

Examples of per in a Sentence


The speed limit is 35 miles per hour. The car gets 32 miles per gallon. He averages 15 points per game. Per your advice, I accepted their offer.


you can have them at 50 cents per or three for $1.25
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition

Through the end of summer, visitors are invited to approach this bloated cousin of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and the Catbus from My Neighbor Totoro and snag one free all-beef hot dog per day. Shoshana Wodinsky, The Verge, "We have some questions about this blobby yellow bus that dispenses free hot dogs," 11 July 2018 The state Department of General Services has said that contractor Walsh Heery owes $35,000 per day in damages for delays in the prison’s completion. Samantha Melamed, Philly.com, "SCI Phoenix, Pennsylvania's costliest prison, finally opens," 11 July 2018 Rather than providing treatment, the Warrens put participants to work without pay, 16 hours per day, as untrained caregivers at adult care homes for elderly and disabled people. Amy Julia Harris And Shoshana Walter, charlotteobserver, "This cafe serves food bought with rehab participants’ food stamps," 10 July 2018 Pay would be $17 to $22.19 per hour and employees would only work when school is in session. Scott Travis, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Who can become a school guardian?," 13 July 2018 Plan for at least 20 ounces of water per hour, plus a bottle on the way to the lake and another on the way home. Jordan Rodriguez, idahostatesman, "How to beat the heat on your fishing trips in Idaho’s summer sun," 12 July 2018 Its wind speeds reached 191 kilometers (119 miles) per hour. Washington Post, "Typhoon Maria barrels into China after pounding Taiwan," 12 July 2018 The weather service also warned that DFW Airport could experience lightning and rain falling at roughly a half-inch per hour. Gordon Dickson, star-telegram, "Hail in July? Scattered heavy storms pack a punch across North Texas," 12 July 2018 Just this year, his personal vehicle has gotten three tickets for going at least 11 miles per hour over the limit on streets in front of schools — during school hours. New York Times, "Senator Does a U-Turn on Speed Cameras in School Zones," 12 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

That’s helped bring per-pound retail prices for beef patties down 16% from their September 2015 high of $5.12 to about $4.31 in June, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. Jacob Bunge, WSJ, "Chicken, Turkey and Tuna Have a Beef With Your Burger," 30 June 2018 Anderton, the Collierville, Tennessee, native averaged 11.78 assists per set and 2.00 digs per set as Samford improved to 6-6 in SoCon play. Samford Athletics, AL.com, "Samford volleyball preps for two key home matches this weekend," 2 Nov. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'per.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of per


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1899, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for per


Latin, through, by means of, by — more at for


Latin, through, throughout, thoroughly, detrimental to, from per

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about per

Dictionary Entries near per

pep up






per accidens

Phrases Related to per

an/per hour

per head

Statistics for per

Last Updated

25 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for per

The first known use of per was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for per

English Language Learners Definition of per

: for each

: as directed by or stated in

\ˈpər \

Kids Definition of per

1 : to or for each It cost us ten dollars per day.

2 : as directed by Construction was done per instructions.

\ˈpər \

Medical Definition of per 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: by the means or agency of : by way of : through enter through the mouth lining and per the bloodstream to the stomachSydney (Australia) Bulletin blood per rectum — see per os

Medical Definition of per (Entry 2 of 2)

1 period; periodic

2 person

Keep scrolling for more

\ˈpər \

Legal Definition of per 

: as stated by used to indicate the author of an opinion with which the majority of judges concur

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on per

What made you want to look up per? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!