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per·​haps pər-ˈhaps How to pronounce perhaps (audio)
: possibly but not certainly : maybe


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: something open to doubt or conjecture

Examples of perhaps in a Sentence

Adverb perhaps we will not have to take this exam, but I doubt it
Recent Examples on the Web
But nobody is more closely associated with Carrara than Michelangelo, perhaps the greatest sculptor ever to live. Elaine Sciolino, Smithsonian Magazine, 1 Dec. 2023 The 16-day war that began on Oct. 6, 1973, with coordinated attacks on Israel by Egypt and Syria would confront Dr. Kissinger with perhaps the most severe tests of his career. Thomas W. Lippman, Washington Post, 30 Nov. 2023 This year’s Fortune Global Forum in Abu Dhabi took place at a moment—or perhaps in an era—of enormous uncertainty for business. Alan Murray, Fortune, 30 Nov. 2023 Kissinger Finds His New Boss Gerald Ford Has Fewer 'Hangups' Than Nixon Revered by many as perhaps the most consequential secretary of state in U.S. history, Kissinger's record as a statesman is considerably mixed. Virginia Chamlee, Peoplemag, 30 Nov. 2023 But, then, the romantic glory of revolution is perhaps the most distinct cultural accent left to us by the era and its Emperor. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 30 Nov. 2023 The Dude wears a number of memorable looks in the movie, but his chill attitude is perhaps best epitomized in his brown knitted fleece bathrobe and cotton Jockey t-shirt. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 29 Nov. 2023 But the music—the singing—has arguably been the anchor of her career, and perhaps her greatest gift to the world. Tom Gliatto, Peoplemag, 18 Nov. 2023 Online car sales are a big, though perhaps natural, progression of the always-on online marketplace. WIRED, 18 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'perhaps.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



per + hap

First Known Use


circa 1520, in the meaning defined above


1534, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of perhaps was circa 1520

Dictionary Entries Near perhaps

Cite this Entry

“Perhaps.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


: possibly but not certainly


from per (preposition) "by, according to" and haps, plural of hap "chance, chance occurrence" — related to happen, happy, mishap

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