per·​for·​mance | \ pər-ˈfȯr-mən(t)s How to pronounce performance (audio) , pə- \

Definition of performance

1a : the execution of an action
b : something accomplished : deed, feat
2 : the fulfillment of a claim, promise, or request : implementation
3a : the action of representing a character in a play
b : a public presentation or exhibition a benefit performance
4a : the ability to perform : efficiency
b : the manner in which a mechanism performs engine performance
5 : the manner of reacting to stimuli : behavior
6 : the linguistic behavior of an individual : parole also : the ability to speak a certain language — compare competence sense 1c

Examples of performance in a Sentence

This evening's performance will start at 8 o'clock. The hall is usually used for orchestra performances. The critics loved her performance as the villain. A supervisor will evaluate each employee's performance. employees with strong job performances Employees are given an annual performance assessment. The gas additive improves engine performance. an increased level of performance We've introduced new performance levels. See More
Recent Examples on the Web White says the idea for the performance was practically fully formed when music director Mei-Ann Chen pitched it to her during the Sinfonietta’s 2019 gala. Hannah Edgar, Chicago Tribune, 12 May 2022 Criss won outstanding lead actor in a limited series or movie in 2018 for his chilling performance as spree killer Andrew Cunanan in The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story. Paul Grein, Billboard, 11 May 2022 Records show Cueller only requested feedback from staffers about her job performance after Small’s termination and lawsuit, and unsuccessfully sought to have the latter dismissed. Paige Mcglauflin, Fortune, 10 May 2022 This past year, Smart won the Emmy for best lead actress in a comedy series for her Hacks performance as legendary stand-up comedy diva Deborah Vance. Sydney Odman, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2022 Responding officers confirmed that everything was OK and that there was a small disagreement over job performance. cleveland, 9 May 2022 Most Americans seem to believe Biden has not done so: 42 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, while 53 percent disapprove, according to FiveThirtyEight’s average of polls. New York Times, 6 May 2022 The spokesman said the department believes education and work experience are better predictors of job performance than the exam. Dave Seminara, WSJ, 2 May 2022 An Emerson Polling survey of Ohio from February found that 40 percent of Ohioans approve of Biden’s job performance while 54 percent disapprove. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 29 Apr. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'performance.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of performance

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for performance

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The first known use of performance was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near performance

per formam doni


performance art

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Statistics for performance

Last Updated

14 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Performance.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for performance


per·​for·​mance | \ pər-ˈfȯr-məns How to pronounce performance (audio) \

Kids Definition of performance

1 : the carrying out of an action He's in the performance of his duty.
2 : a public entertainment We attended a symphony performance.



Legal Definition of performance

1 : work done in employment unsatisfactory performance
2a : what is required to be performed in fulfillment of a contract, promise, or obligation substituted a new performance in novation of the contract
b : the fulfillment of a contract, promise, or obligation
part performance
1 : partial performance of a contract, promise, or obligation
2 : a doctrine which provides an exception to the Statute of Frauds requirement that a contract be in writing by treating partial performance and the acceptance of it by the other party as evidence of an enforceable contract — compare partial breach at breach
specific performance
1 : the complete or exact fulfillment of the terms of a contract, promise, or obligation
2 : an equitable remedy that requires a party to fulfill the exact terms of a contract, promise, obligation, or decree mandating a remedy and that is used when legal remedies (as damages) are inadequate the common law prohibition against specific performance as a remedy for alleged breach of employment contractChady v. Solomon Schechter Day Schs., 645 N.E.2d 983 (1995) — compare injunction
substantial performance
1 : performance of the essential terms of a contract, promise, or obligation a contractor is not entitled to a lien in the absence of substantial performanceCasa Linda Tile & Marble Installers, Inc. v. Highlands Place 1981 Ltd., 642 So. 2d 766 (1994)
2 : a doctrine which permits a party (as a builder) that acted in good faith to recover from the other party to a contract for a performance that departs in minor respects from what was promised — compare material breach at breach
3 : a public rendition or presentation of an artistic work

More from Merriam-Webster on performance

Nglish: Translation of performance for Spanish Speakers

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


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