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period

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noun pe·ri·od \ ˈpir-ē-əd \

Definition of period

1 :the completion of a cycle, a series of events, or a single action :conclusion
2 a (1) :an utterance from one full stop to another :sentence
(2) :a well-proportioned sentence of several clauses
b :a musical structure or melodic section usually composed of two or more contrasting or complementary phrases and ending with a cadence
3 a :the full pause with which the utterance of a sentence closes
b :end, stop
4 obsolete :goal, purpose
5 a (1) :a point . used to mark the end (as of a declarative sentence or an abbreviation)
(2) used interjectionally to emphasize the finality of the preceding statement
  • I don't remember — period
b :a rhythmical unit in Greek verse composed of a series of two or more cola
6 a :a portion of time determined by some recurring phenomenon
b (1) :the interval of time required for a cyclic motion or phenomenon to complete a cycle and begin to repeat itself
(2) :a number k that does not change the value of a periodic function f when added to the independent variable; especially :the smallest such number
c :a single cyclic occurrence of menstruation
7 a :a chronological division :stage
b :a division of geologic time longer than an epoch and included in an era
c :a stage of culture having a definable place in time and space
8 a :one of the divisions of the academic day
b :one of the divisions of the playing time of a game

Examples of period in a Sentence

  1. We have had two power failures in a five-month period.

  2. The period between Christmas and New Year's Eve is a very busy one for us.

  3. We are studying our country's colonial period.

  4. Children go through many changes during the period of adolescence.

Recent Examples of period from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of period

Middle English periode, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin, Latin, & Greek; Medieval Latin periodus period of time, punctuation mark, from Latin & Greek; Latin, rhetorical period, from Greek periodos circuit, period of time, rhetorical period, from peri- + hodos way

period Synonyms

Synonyms
menstruation, monthlies
Related Words
menses

Synonym Discussion of period

period, epoch, era, age mean a division of time. period may designate an extent of time of any length.
    • periods of economic prosperity
epoch applies to a period begun or set off by some significant or striking quality, change, or series of events.
    • the steam engine marked a new epoch in industry
era suggests a period of history marked by a new or distinct order of things.
    • the era of global communications
age is used frequently of a fairly definite period dominated by a prominent figure or feature.
    • the age of Samuel Johnson

2

period

adjective

Definition of period

:of, relating to, or representing a particular historical period
  • period furniture
  • period costumes

First Known Use of period

1905



PERIOD Defined for English Language Learners

period

play
noun

Definition of period for English Language Learners

  • : a length of time during which a series of events or an action takes place or is completed

  • : a length of time that is very important in the history of the world, a nation, etc.

  • : a time that is very important in the life of a person


period

adjective

Definition of period for English Language Learners

  • : of, relating to, or typical of a particular time in history


PERIOD Defined for Kids

period

play
noun pe·ri·od \ ˈpir-ē-əd \

Definition of period for Students

1 :a punctuation mark . used chiefly to mark the end of a declarative sentence or an abbreviation
2 :a portion of time set apart by some quality
  • a period of cool weather
3 :a portion of time that forms a stage in history
  • the colonial period
4 :one of the divisions of a school day
  • I have math second period.
5 :a single occurrence of menstruation

Synonym Discussion of period

period and age mean a portion of time. period can be used of any portion of time, no matter how long or short.
    • We waited a period of five minutes.
    • A new period of space exploration has begun.
age is used of a longer period of time that is associated with an important person or outstanding thing.
    • I'm reading about the age of Thomas Jefferson.
    • We live in the computer age.

Medical Dictionary

period

play
noun pe·ri·od \ ˈpir-ē-əd \

medical Definition of period

1 a :a portion of time determined by some recurring phenomenon
b :a single cyclic occurrence of menstruation
2 :a chronological division
  • the period of incubation of a disease


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