per·​cen·​tile | \ pər-ˈsen-ˌtī(-ə)l How to pronounce percentile (audio) \

Definition of percentile

: a value on a scale of 100 that indicates the percent of a distribution that is equal to or below it a score in the 95th percentile

Examples of percentile in a Sentence

His height and weight are in the 80th percentile for boys his age.

Recent Examples on the Web

Life expectancy at the 90th percentile is 83.1 years compared with 73.1 years at the 10th. The Economist, "Black men in America are living almost as long as white men," 14 June 2019 Students at the school have the very lowest test scores in the entire state in many categories, and at best score in the 5th percentile in a single category. The Denver Post Editorial Board, The Denver Post, "Editorial: State is right to intervene when schools keep failing kids," 7 June 2019 Households in the 90th to 95th percentiles of the income distribution will claim tax breaks on just 67% of their giving, down from 92%. Richard Rubin, WSJ, "Charities Brace for Tax-Driven Dip in Year-End Giving," 27 Nov. 2018 By contrast, those in the 95th wage percentile saw an average pay hike of 1.5 percent over the past year. Josh Eidelson,, "U.S. Income Inequality Hits a Disturbing New Threshold," 1 Mar. 2018 The author, seen here on the grounds of the Glyndebourne Opera House, learned that his own polygenic score showed him at risk for obesity at the 94th percentile for body mass index. Robert Plomin, WSJ, "Our Fortunetelling Genes," 15 Nov. 2018 The club’s video room hummed with computers loaded with clips that could reveal pitchers’ tendencies to the percentile. Ben Reiter,, "Why Carlos Beltrán Was the Perfect Addition to Aid the Astros' Journey to the World Series," 9 July 2018 Central to their criticism is that the Penn doctors used a score of 40th percentile or above as a cutoff point for passing neurophysiological tests in evaluations of six of the 21 patients evaluated (eTable 2). Beth Mole, Ars Technica, "US pulls two more from Cuba amid puzzling health cases now affecting China," 11 June 2018 Meanwhile, tech workers in the Valley have seen their incomes go up across every bracket — with the highest gains in real wages at the 80th and 90th percentile of tech’s income earners, at around 38 and 35 percent, respectively. Shirin Ghaffary, Recode, "Inequality in Silicon Valley is getting worse: Wages are down for everyone but the top 10 percent," 13 Oct. 2018

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

1885, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

19 Jun 2019

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The first known use of percentile was in 1885

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More Definitions for percentile



English Language Learners Definition of percentile

: one of 100 equal parts that a group of people can be divided into in order to rank them


per·​cen·​tile | \ pər-ˈsen-ˌtīl How to pronounce percentile (audio) \

Medical Definition of percentile

: a value on a scale of one hundred that indicates the percent of a distribution that is equal to or below it a percentile score of 95 is a score equal to or better than 95 percent of the scores

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More from Merriam-Webster on percentile

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with percentile

Nglish: Translation of percentile for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of percentile for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about percentile

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