per·cent | \pər-ˈsent \

Definition of percent 

(Entry 1 of 3)

: in the hundred : of each hundred


plural percent or percents

Definition of percent (Entry 2 of 3)

1 plural percent

a : one part in a hundred

b : percentage a large percent of their income

2 percents plural, British : securities bearing a specified rate of interest



Definition of percent (Entry 3 of 3)

1 : reckoned on the basis of a whole divided into 100 parts

2 : paying interest at a specified percent

Examples of percent in a Sentence


The value has increased half a percent.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Much has been made of the alliance's goal that member nations spend at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, due to U.S. President Donald Trump's regular contention that members are shirking their commitments. David Rising, Fox News, "A look at NATO and what the alliance does, past and present," 13 July 2018 In comparison, insurance agents and brokers helped with more than 40 percent of marketplace enrollments last year. Naseem S. Miller,, "Obamacare navigator money cut by 70 percent," 12 July 2018 About 40 percent of the 162 families eligible for such benefits in the county receive $0, the lawsuit states. Keith Bierygolick,, "Addicted, abused and unable to count: a federal lawsuit about damaged kids in Warren County," 12 July 2018 Police department rosters for May showed that on some days more than 40 percent of patrol officers were working overtime shifts. Ian Duncan,, "Baltimore Police assign 115 extra officers to patrol the streets in hopes of curbing overtime spending, crime," 11 July 2018 By Sunday the journey seemed more feasible because the rescue team was able to pump at least 40 percent of the water out of the cave. Radhika Viswanathan, Vox, "How the 12 Thai boys were finally rescued," 10 July 2018 The report, which looked at the cost of living around Alaska, found that Anchorage households spent about 40 percent of their income on housing in December of last year. Annie Zak, Anchorage Daily News, "Another year of low inflation in Anchorage has downside for low-paid workers," 9 July 2018 According to a 2017 Gallup poll, about 60 percent of women consistently support stricter gun restrictions, compared with around 40 percent of men. Ben Wofford, Glamour, "The NRA's Most Wanted Customer: Women," 28 June 2018 Research suggests that more than 40 percent of adults worldwide in the general population have attempted to lose weight at some point. Kevin Klatt, SELF, "Why Weight Loss Diets Fail," 26 June 2018

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,, "Summer already? Feels like it," 27 Apr. 2017

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.

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First Known Use of percent


1568, in the meaning defined above


1667, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1888, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for percent


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

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Time Traveler for percent

The first known use of percent was in 1568

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English Language Learners Definition of percent

: one part in a hundred : an amount that is equal to one one-hundredth of something

: a part of a whole

per·cent | \pər-ˈsent \

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.

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Comments on percent

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


to reject or criticize sharply

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