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

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

Noun The value has increased half a percent.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Johns Hopkins University calculates Arizona's seven-day moving average of percent positives at 16.5% as of Monday. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, "AZ again ranks No. 1 for weekly COVID-19 case rate as state reports nearly 9K new cases, rising hospitalizations," 12 Jan. 2021 According to Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game, between 20,000 and 30,000 bears roam the state, and over the next 10 years, that number is expected to grow by up to 15 percent. Jace Bauserman, Field & Stream, "5 Western Muzzleloader Hunts To Put On Your Calendar," 4 Jan. 2021 These maps lay out the data since the Nov. 6 public health report, when the state began evaluating risk using a combination of percent positivity and daily incidence rate per 100,000 people. Amanda Kaufman,, "See how Massachusetts’ COVID-19 risk map has evolved week-by-week," 31 Dec. 2020 According to a map graphic released Monday by the Health Department, Jackson County, with a population of about 17,000, showed the highest 14-day rolling average of percent positivity of tests at 24.3%. Jeannie Roberts, Arkansas Online, "Vaccine's arrival hailed in state," 15 Dec. 2020 The Department has identified an increase in percent positivity in 55 of 64 parishes. Staff Report,, "Louisiana coronavirus: 4,296 more confirmed cases include backlog; hospitalizations near 1,000," 20 Nov. 2020 The percent positivity in southwest Virginia has reached about 9%. Tyler Arnold, Washington Examiner, "No new Thanksgiving gathering restrictions in Virginia," 11 Nov. 2020 While vaccinations are underway, the percent of the population that will be inoculated by the end of January will still be relatively small. Phillip Molnar, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Could California lockdown restrictions end in January?," 25 Dec. 2020 The percent of coronavirus tests that come back positive can't be more than 5% for two weeks in a row. Emma Discher,, "Rewatch: New Orleans officials will not add more coronavirus restrictions this week," 16 Dec. 2020 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

Time Traveler

The first known use of percent was in 1568

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Statistics for percent

Cite this Entry

“Percent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2021.

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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


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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