per·​form | \ pər-ˈfȯrm How to pronounce perform (audio) , 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 How to pronounce perform (audio) , pə-​ \ noun
performable \ pər-​ˈfȯr-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce perform (audio) , pə-​ \ adjective
performer \ pər-​ˈfȯr-​mər How to pronounce perform (audio) , 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 bill also seeks to improve the quality of online charter schools’ education, based on research that suggests students in online charter schools perform worse than other students. Kristen Taketa, San Diego Union-Tribune, "CA Assembly committee advances school accountability bill that charter schools oppose," 29 Apr. 2021 The regular menu will also be offered from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Melani Skybell and David Slater perform live from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and David Slater performs from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. 4812 Belt Line Road, Addison. Audrey Eads, Dallas News, "70-plus Dallas-area restaurants offering Mother’s Day meal specials," 29 Apr. 2021 Otherwise, the only time teams saw players perform drills and workouts were at their pro days., "For this year’s NFL Draft, teams are guessing more than ever," 28 Apr. 2021 It’s not always good for the people who perform it, however. New York Times, "When the Cellos Play, the Cows Come Home," 28 Apr. 2021 Fountaine Pajot said the hydrogen generator will also perform better than an all-electric system. Michael Verdon, Robb Report, "This New Sailing Catamaran Will Be Powered By Yachting’s First Hydrogen Fuel Cell," 28 Apr. 2021 Here’s the big difference: 85% of the subjects who saw the introduction wanted to see the magician perform more tricks. Roger Dooley, Forbes, "One Simple Thing That Will Boost Your Credibility," 27 Apr. 2021 The patent indicates the sensors could perform various readings, including blood pressure, vascular age, arterial stiffness, aortic pressure, vascular compliance, stress index, and fatigue levels. Chris Smith, BGR, "What if this is the Galaxy Z Fold 3’s most exciting feature?," 26 Apr. 2021 As an example of how to weigh the risk and benefits, Gupta and Tapper discussed whether to see Dave Matthews perform outdoors this summer. TheWeek, "CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta says vaccinated people can generally go maskless outdoors, with some caveats," 23 Apr. 2021

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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Time Traveler for perform

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for perform

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Perform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 May. 2021.

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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 How to pronounce perform (audio) \
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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