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

She is not known to show anger in public, and the only times most people have seen her show unbridled glee is when one of her racehorses performs extremely well in a competition., "Royal etiquette for the Trumps’ visit: Don’t kiss the queen," 13 July 2018 Big banks are performing well right now, but investors are fixated on what could go wrong in the future. Aaron Back, WSJ, "Investors Are Ignoring the Good News in Banks," 13 July 2018 If a school is not performing well, turn it over to private management. Valerie Strauss, Washington Post, "What’s really going on in Indiana’s public schools," 12 July 2018 Executives assured investors in conference calls that the programs were performing well, while ITT's obligations to pay out on soured loans began to balloon, according to the complaint. Danielle Douglas-gabriel,, "Defunct for-profit college firm ITT's former executives settle fraud charges," 10 July 2018 The buzz: Bridges has only played two games this summer, both in Las Vegas, but has performed well. George Stoia, Detroit Free Press, "NBA Summer League: Jaren Jackson Jr., Moritz Wagner standing out," 9 July 2018 The underfunded car performed well and missed most of the crashes, finishing 16th in the 40-car field. Edgar Thompson,, "Patriotism gets big boost at Daytona," 8 July 2018 Curry expects the department will receive two more K-9 units toward the end of the year if the program performs well. Perry Vandell, azcentral, "ADOT to use K-9 units to detect drugs, human trafficking on major Arizona highways," 7 July 2018 The dock performed well when connected to both a MacBook Pro and an XPS 13, producing read/write scores and transfer speeds slightly lower than those produced when the external drive was connected to the PCs themselves. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Picking the right Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C dock for your desk," 3 July 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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Learn More about perform

Phrases Related to perform

perform miracles

performing arts

Statistics for perform

Last Updated

16 Oct 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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Comments on perform

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one that holds something together

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