per·haps | \pər-ˈhaps, ˈpraps\

Definition of perhaps 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: possibly but not certainly : maybe



Definition of perhaps (Entry 2 of 2)

: something open to doubt or conjecture

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Synonyms for perhaps

Synonyms: Adverb

conceivably, maybe, mayhap, perchance, possibly

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Examples of perhaps in a Sentence


perhaps we will not have to take this exam, but I doubt it

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Their clinic is, perhaps, the only thing that works well in Maiduguri. The Economist, "The fight against Islamic State is moving to Africa," 14 July 2018 Not surprising, perhaps, considering Alsop’s affinity for Bernstein’s music, her closeness to him as a former protégé and the very fine state of the CSO these days. Howard Reich,, "CSO at Ravinia review: Marin Alsop poetically launches Bernstein tribute," 13 July 2018 Not, perhaps, in his background or experience — after all, his father was chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and his uncle Carl the longest-serving U.S. senator in Michigan history. Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press, "Andy Levin looks to take dad Sander Levin's seat in Congress," 13 July 2018 Rule in favor of religious challenges to anti-discrimination law, and perhaps, in an extreme case, reverse some past Supreme Court rulings on gay rights. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "America under Brett Kavanaugh," 11 July 2018 And perhaps, because Amy Coney Barrett is relatively new. Fox News, "Gowdy: SCOTUS confirmation process has become politicized," 10 July 2018 But more than half of its emissions—and perhaps as much as two-thirds, by some estimates—actually come from the chemical production process itself, which releases large amounts of carbon dioxide as a byproduct. Chelsea Harvey, Scientific American, "Cement Producers Are Developing a Plan to Reduce CO2 Emissions," 9 July 2018 Better days, perhaps, when the games actually count. Josh Robbins,, "Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac and Magic dominate on defense against Grizzlies," 9 July 2018 But Brazil, perhaps, was also smarter, in both the positive and the negative sense of the word. Jonathan Wilson,, "Neymar, Brazil Get Last Laugh in Extending Mexico's World Cup Round of 16 Misery," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perhaps.' 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 perhaps


circa 1520, in the meaning defined above


1534, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for perhaps


per + hap

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Statistics for perhaps

Last Updated

19 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perhaps

The first known use of perhaps was circa 1520

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More Definitions for perhaps



English Language Learners Definition of perhaps

: possibly but not certainly


per·haps | \pər-ˈhaps \

Kids Definition of perhaps

: possibly but not certainly : maybe Perhaps we'll go.

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Comments on perhaps

What made you want to look up perhaps? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not any or not one

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