pe·​riph·​er·​al | \ pə-ˈri-f(ə-)rəl How to pronounce peripheral (audio) \

Definition of peripheral

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, involving, or forming a periphery or surface part
2a : of, relating to, affecting, or being part of the peripheral nervous system peripheral nerves peripheral neuritis
b : of, relating to, or being blood in the systemic circulation peripheral lymphocytes
3 : of, relating to, or being the outer part of the field of vision good peripheral vision
4 : auxiliary, supplementary peripheral equipment also : of or relating to computer peripherals



Definition of peripheral (Entry 2 of 2)

: a device connected to a computer to provide communication (such as input and output) or auxiliary functions (such as additional storage)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from peripheral


peripherally adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for peripheral

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Did you know?

Your peripheral vision is the outer area of your field of vision, where you can still detect movement and shapes. It can be very valuable when, for instance, you're driving into Chicago at rush hour, especially when switching lanes. When people call an issue in a discussion peripheral, they mean that it's not of primary importance, and they're probably suggesting that everyone get back to the main topic. Peripheral is now also a noun: computer peripherals are the added components—printers, webcams, microphones, etc.—that increase a computer's capacities.

Examples of peripheral in a Sentence

Adjective If we focus too much on peripheral issues, we will lose sight of the goal. peripheral devices such as modems and scanners He saw in his peripheral vision that a car was trying to pass him.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The goal was to get a general sense of when teams decided to press the go button, what assets to collect, how to best use cap space, which peripheral maneuvers were most beneficial and how long the pain would last. Chris Fedor, cleveland, 8 June 2021 The next stage in China's vaccine campaign appears to be spreading out doses to peripheral cities and rural areas. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, 27 May 2021 Workers who make and assemble devices that treat congenital heart and peripheral vascular diseases wear full protective gear. Jackie Crosby, Star Tribune, 23 May 2021 Walser would in many respects always be in his famous brother’s shadow, which may have fed his fascination with the peripheral, the minor and the overlooked. Sam Sacks, WSJ, 21 May 2021 The imagery that appears in front of the wearer’s eyes is generated by dual optical waveguides, and there are two RGB cameras built into the specs to capture the peripheral world. Lauren Goode, Wired, 20 May 2021 At about 20 degrees from center the rods dominate and continue to do so all the way out to your peripheral retina. Gabriel A. Silva, Forbes, 20 May 2021 The main sites of constitutional innovation, from 1755 through today, have been in peripheral places such as revolutionary Haiti or Pitcairn Island, which became the first place to enshrine equal political rights for women in the early 19th century. Washington Post, 14 May 2021 While no treasure has been found, peripheral discoveries—apparent clues, possible traps, and geological curiosities—have compelled searchers onward, even as historians dispute the more sensational claims surrounding the treasure. Dylan Taylor-lehman, Popular Mechanics, 13 May 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Aquapolis came from that weird e-Card era of the Pokémon Trading Card game, where cards could be scanned into the e-Reader peripheral for the Gameboy Advance. Joe Parlock, Forbes, 5 Mar. 2021 The main downside to this is price: $299 is frankly a bonkers price for a keyboard peripheral. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 30 May 2020 Further Reading iPadOS review: The iPad is dead, long live the iPad The latest product of that particular effort is the introduction of the Magic Keyboard peripheral from the 11-inch and 12.9-inch iPad Pro models. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, 30 May 2020 The vector is a familiar one: the Thunderbolt ultrafast interface connects graphics cards, storage systems, and other peripherals to millions of computers. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 12 May 2020 In fact, many Thunderbolt peripherals made before 2019 are incompatible with Kernel DMA Protection. Andy Greenberg, Wired, 10 May 2020 Tying them to displays and other peripherals will be the Surface Dock 3 and the Microsoft USB-C Travel Hub. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, 6 May 2020 Like the original console, the TG-16M ships with support for five-player modes, though these require peripherals from Hori (who co-developed this system). Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, 15 Apr. 2020 Larger services like Microsoft's Azure Sphere are also exploring ways to extend more comprehensive encryption to peripherals and IoT devices. Lily Hay Newman, Wired, 20 Jan. 2020

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

See More

First Known Use of peripheral


1808, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1966, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About peripheral

Time Traveler for peripheral

Time Traveler

The first known use of peripheral was in 1808

See more words from the same year

Statistics for peripheral

Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Peripheral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for peripheral



English Language Learners Definition of peripheral

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : not relating to the main or most important part
computers : connected to a computer but not an essential part of it
: of or relating to the area that is to the side of the area you are looking at



English Language Learners Definition of peripheral (Entry 2 of 2)

computers : a piece of equipment (such as a printer, speaker, etc.) that is connected to a computer but is not an essential part of it


pe·​riph·​er·​al | \ pə-ˈrif-(ə-)rəl How to pronounce peripheral (audio) \

Medical Definition of peripheral

1 : of, relating to, involving, forming, or located near a periphery or surface part (as of the body)
2 : of, relating to, affecting, or being part of the peripheral nervous system peripheral nerves
3 : of, relating to, or being the outer part of the visual field good peripheral vision
4 : of, relating to, or being blood in the systemic circulation peripheral lymphocytes peripheral blood

Other Words from peripheral

peripherally \ -​ē How to pronounce peripheral (audio) \ adverb


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!