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
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 performability (audio) , pə-​ \ noun
performable \ pər-​ˈfȯr-​mə-​bəl How to pronounce performable (audio) , pə-​ \ adjective
performer \ pər-​ˈfȯr-​mər How to pronounce performer (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 Rail Band was initially sponsored by Mali’s ministry of information and performed in residence at Bamako’s train-station hotel, the Buffet Hotel de la Gare. Jon Pareles,, "Mory Kante, million-selling African singer and bandleader, 70," 24 May 2020 Orchestras are discussing relying more on string players, since those musicians can perform in masks. Michael Paulson, New York Times, "The Fall of Autumn: Live Performance Producers Are Giving Up on 2020," 24 May 2020 Visual journalist Vickie Connor produced this delightful video featuring Mariachi Nuevo Amanecer performing in the Eastern Coachella Valley. Rebecca Plevin, USA TODAY, "In CA: Some communities are beginning to reopen, just in time for Memorial Day," 23 May 2020 The series kicks off Friday, June 19, with a show by Chris Hatton, a local artist who performs covers of classic rock and pop favorites. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland, "Live concerts returning to Music Box this June with ‘Table for Two’ concert series," 22 May 2020 Someone who has performed a job well for many years might be the best source of advice. Magi Helena, oregonlive, "Horoscope for May 21, 2020: Cancer, return to a hobby; Capricorn, cut expenses," 21 May 2020 Dancers pay as much as hundreds of dollars in house fees to perform onstage in strip clubs, ideally earning enough in tips to make a profit. Alexis Okeowo, The New Yorker, "The Fragile Existence of Sex Workers During the Pandemic," 21 May 2020 Others still work — worked — as servers or cooks but also regularly performed in ballets, gave readings in bookshops, or recorded albums with their friends. Kimberly Zerkel,, "Bay Area restaurants and bars were the paying gigs for artists, but coronavirus ended that," 20 May 2020 Of course, there is a very familiar scenario in which athletes perform without the benefit—or hindrance—of crowd noise: practice. Danny Chau, The Atlantic, "Athletes During the Pandemic Are Learning What Fans Have Always Known," 20 May 2020

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

28 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Perform.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for perform


How to pronounce perform (audio)

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

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for perform

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with perform

Spanish Central: Translation of perform

Nglish: Translation of perform for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perform for Arabic Speakers

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