per·​form | \pər-ˈfȯrm, pə-\
performed; performing; performs

Definition of perform 

transitive verb

1 : to adhere to the terms of : fulfill perform a contract

2 : carry out, do

3a : to do in a formal manner or according to prescribed ritual

b : to give a rendition of : present

intransitive verb

1 : to carry out an action or pattern of behavior : act, function

2 : to give a performance : play

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Other Words from perform

performability \pər-​ˌfȯr-​mə-​ˈbi-​lə-​tē, pə-​ \ noun
performable \pər-​ˈfȯr-​mə-​bəl, pə-​ \ adjective
performer \pər-​ˈfȯr-​mər, pə-​ \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for perform

perform, execute, discharge, accomplish, achieve, effect, fulfill mean to carry out or into effect. perform implies action that follows established patterns or procedures or fulfills agreed-upon requirements and often connotes special skill. performed gymnastics execute stresses the carrying out of what exists in plan or in intent. executed the hit-and-run discharge implies execution and completion of appointed duties or tasks. discharged his duties accomplish stresses the successful completion of a process rather than the means of carrying it out. accomplished everything they set out to do achieve adds to accomplish the implication of conquered difficulties. achieve greatness effect adds to achieve an emphasis on the inherent force in the agent capable of surmounting obstacles. effected sweeping reforms fulfill implies a complete realization of ends or possibilities. fulfilled their ambitions

Examples of perform in a Sentence

The doctor had to perform surgery immediately. The magician performed some amazing tricks. The gymnasts performed their routines perfectly. You are required to perform 50 hours of community service. The band will be performing on the main stage. She's a wonderful singer who loves to perform before a live audience. The band will perform songs from their new album. The class performed the play for the school.
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Recent Examples on the Web

The Innovator Award went to Kacey Musgraves (who gave a spellbinding performance), and Hayley Kiyoko took the stage to accept the Rising Star Award after performing her song, Curious. Michaela Bechler, Vogue, "Strong and Influential Females Were Recognized at Billboard's 2018 Women in Music Event," 7 Dec. 2018 In spaces with fancy gowns and suits, notions of performing cis-ness are dialed all the way up. Carter Schneider, Teen Vogue, ""I'll Be in Transition Forever": Trans-masculine and Non-binary People Talk Identity, Affirmation, and More," 6 Dec. 2018 There’s still much to learn from the remodel, and an initial energy audit will show eventually show how the retrofitted structure performs over time. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Can a remodeled 1920s home revolutionize green building?," 3 Dec. 2018 The advantages to selling on the Marketplace include the ability to control the sale price of the goods, run price promotions and get more data about how products are performing and who’s buying them. Jason Del Rey, Recode, "An Amazon revolt could be brewing as the tech giant exerts more control over brands," 29 Nov. 2018 So the charts actually, in a strange way, because of a lack of a data around how podcasts perform, became important tools for finding podcasts worth advertising on. Ashley Carman, The Verge, "Gaming the Apple Podcast charts is cheaper and easier than you think," 29 Nov. 2018 When conditions allowed, Zabel could perform urgent repairs, such as fixing a screw that came loose in the thermal system. Elizabeth Howell,, "Antarctica Greenhouse Produces Cucumbers, Tomatoes and More in Mars-Like Test," 24 Sep. 2018 In 2012, Jackson Women’s Health filed suit against a Mississippi law requiring that doctors performing abortions have admitting privileges at a local hospital. Anna North, Vox, "How Trump helped inspire a wave of strict new abortion laws," 21 Nov. 2018 The home belongs to one of the founders of Phare Ponleu Selpak, a nonprofit with a visual and performing arts school, including a circus made up of kids who might otherwise be on the street. Rebecca Misner, Condé Nast Traveler, "Going Deeper in Cambodia," 19 Nov. 2018

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1

History and Etymology for perform

Middle English, from Anglo-French parfurmer, alteration of perforner, parfurnir, from par-, per- thoroughly (from Latin per-) + furnir to complete — more at furnish

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Statistics for perform

Last Updated

11 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perform

The first known use of perform was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for perform



English Language Learners Definition of perform

: to do an action or activity that usually requires training or skill

: to entertain an audience by singing, acting, etc.

—used to describe how effective or successful someone or something is


per·​form | \pər-ˈfȯrm \
performed; performing

Kids Definition of perform

1 : to carry out : do Anyone can perform this task.

2 : to do something needing special skill The doctor had to perform surgery.

3 : to give a public presentation for entertainment

Other Words from perform

performer noun


transitive verb

Legal Definition of perform 

1 : to adhere to and fulfill the terms of perform an obligation

2 : to carry out or bring about perform the work according to design

3 : to do according to prescribed ritual or law perform a marriage ceremony

4 : to give a public rendition or presentation of perform a copyrighted play

intransitive verb

1 : to adhere to and fulfill the terms of a contract, promise, or obligation failed to perform under the agreement

2 : to carry out or present something

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More from Merriam-Webster on perform

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with perform

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for perform

Spanish Central: Translation of perform

Nglish: Translation of perform for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perform for Arabic Speakers

Comments on perform

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


to make faulty or ineffective

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