per·​cent | \ pər-ˈsent How to pronounce percent (audio) \

Definition of percent

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1 US percent or chiefly British per cent plural percent
a : one part in a hundred We provided 100 percent [=100%] of the labor. I spend about 50 percent of my workday in meetings.
b : percentage A large percent of their income is used to pay rent.
2 percents plural, British : securities bearing a specified rate of interest We invested in 3 percents.



Definition of percent (Entry 2 of 3)

1 : reckoned on the basis of a whole divided into 100 parts There was a 20 percent [=20%] increase in orders. The manufacturer hopes to achieve a 10 percent decrease in carbon dioxide emissions.
2 : paying interest at a specified percent a 4 percent government bond



Definition of percent (Entry 3 of 3)

: in the hundred : of each hundred The defendant was found 40 percent at fault. I agreed with their suggestions one hundred percent.

Examples of percent in a Sentence

Noun The value has increased half a percent.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun With the percent of American employees working from home five days a week rising from 17% before the pandemic to 44% following the pandemic, more Americans than ever are facing the obstacles of cultivating a home office. Lydia Vargo, Forbes, 5 May 2022 Positivity rate—the percent of tests taken that have a positive result—can be more informative than looking at the raw numbers, too. Yasmin Tayag, The Atlantic, 28 Apr. 2022 How the Writers’ Room Budget increases depending on the size of the budget and the percent of the staff that is disabled. Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 Apr. 2022 Percent positivity, or the percent of individuals tested whose results come back positive, appears to be trending upward, Ray said. Erin Prater, Fortune, 16 Apr. 2022 See the map below for each county by the percent its median home value changed. Zachary Smith, cleveland, 15 Apr. 2022 In California, the percent of positive tests for flu is 4.6%, compared to 0% for the same time last year, state health officials report. Aidin Vaziri, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Apr. 2022 The calculation of community covid levels takes into account not only the number of new cases over seven days per 100,000 people but also new covid-19 hospital admissions per 100,000 and the percent of hospital beds occupied by covid-19 patients. Cynthia Howell, Arkansas Online, 11 Mar. 2022 Alabama’s positivity rate - the percent of COVID tests performed in a seven-day period that come back positive - fell below 10% this week, after reaching highs in the mid-40% range. Ramsey Archibald |, al, 24 Feb. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There is a 20 or so percent chance of isolated showers but nothing that will be a washout. Doug Phillips,, 27 Apr. 2017 See More

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

First Known Use of percent


1721, in the meaning defined at sense 1b


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1568, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for percent


earlier per cent, from per + Latin centum hundred — more at hundred

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Time Traveler for percent

Time Traveler

The first known use of percent was in 1568

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Statistics for percent

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Percent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for percent


adjective or adverb
per·​cent | \ pər-ˈsent How to pronounce percent (audio) \

Kids Definition of percent

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: out of every hundred : measured by the number of units as compared with one hundred a 15 percent raise My rent was raised 15 percent.


plural percent

Kids Definition of percent (Entry 2 of 2)

: a part or fraction of a whole expressed in hundredths Ten percent of the class failed the test.

More from Merriam-Webster on percent

Nglish: Translation of percent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of percent for Arabic Speakers


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