per·​cent·​age | \ pər-ˈsen-tij How to pronounce percentage (audio) \

Definition of percentage

1a : a part of a whole expressed in hundredths a high percentage of students attended
b : the result obtained by multiplying a number by a percent the percentage equals the rate times the base
2a : a share of winnings or profits
b : advantage, profit no percentage in going around looking like an old sack of laundry— Wallace Stegner
3 : an indeterminate part : proportion
b : favorable odds

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Synonyms for percentage


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Examples of percentage in a Sentence

If a goalie saves 96 out of 100 shots, his save percentage is 96 percent. The percentages of women completing high school and college were 95 percent and 52 percent, respectively. What percentage of your income do you spend on rent?
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Recent Examples on the Web The percentage of test results coming back positive also has increased, which experts say indicates an uptick in community transmission. Alex Wigglesworth, Los Angeles Times, "Los Angeles County records 3,322 new coronavirus cases, 18 deaths," 12 July 2020 The percentage of positive tests out of all tests per week increased to 21% last week for results that have come back so far. Alison Steinbach, The Arizona Republic, "Arizona reports another 4,221 COVID-19 cases as hospitals continue to fill up," 11 July 2020 The percentage of tests that came back positive, however, increased only slightly last week, at 1.6 percent, up from .8 percent from the week before. Annie Berman, Anchorage Daily News, "Number of Alaska COVID-19 patients hospitalized reaches new high," 7 July 2020 But as the percentage of nonwhite voters in a precinct increased, so did wait times – from 5 minutes in districts that were 90% white or more, to 32 minutes in districts that were 90% nonwhite or more. Jonathan Coopersmith, The Conversation, "It takes a long time to vote," 7 July 2020 In a news conference Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the percentage of positive coronavirus test results in California has increased to 6.8%, and hospitalizations increased by 50%. Kellie Hwang,, "Confused about reopening in the Bay Area? Here’s the latest on the status of each county," 6 July 2020 The percentage of new test results coming back positive has also increased, indicating that the rise is not just due to more testing but to actual growth in the outbreak. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "Florida governor "not going back" on state's reopening even as coronavirus cases surge," 1 July 2020 Between 1967 and 2016, the percentage of black families earning between $35,000 and $100,000 (in 2016 dollars) increased from 35 to 40 percent of the total, and those earning less than $35,000 decreased from 63 to 46 percent. Adolph Reed Jr., The New Republic, "The Surprising Cross-Racial Saga of Modern Wealth Inequality," 29 June 2020 The percentage of positive tests out of all tests per week increased to 19% last week. Alison Steinbach, azcentral, "Arizona reports record number of new COVID-19 cases ahead of Trump visit," 23 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'percentage.' 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 percentage

1757, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for percentage

Time Traveler

The first known use of percentage was in 1757

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Statistics for percentage

Last Updated

30 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Percentage.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce percentage (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of percentage

: a number or rate that is expressed as a certain number of parts of something divided into 100 parts
: a part of a whole
: a part or share of the profit earned when something is sold


per·​cent·​age | \ pər-ˈsen-tij How to pronounce percentage (audio) \

Kids Definition of percentage

1 : a part of a whole expressed in hundredths
2 : a share of profits

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