peripheral

adjective
pe·​riph·​er·​al | \ pə-ˈri-f(ə-)rəl \

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

peripheral

noun

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)

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Other Words from peripheral

Adjective

peripherally adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for peripheral

Synonyms: Adjective

accessorial, accessory, appurtenant, auxiliary, supplemental, supplementary

Antonyms: Adjective

chief, main, principal

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The thicker the stack of goggles, the safer the ride and the worse the peripheral vision. Jonas Shaffer, baltimoresun.com, "For jockeys, goggles are a necessary shield against horse racing's nastier elements," 19 May 2018 Beyond leading roles, there’s also a battle for the scores of background roles in every film or show that are peripheral to the story. Jocelyn Noveck, The Seattle Times, "Transgender Hollywood seeks recognition, and not just roles," 7 Aug. 2018 Singaporean star Han is one of the many Asian actors who populate the film, which is clearly fashioned to appeal as much to Chinese filmgoers as American ones, though their roles are largely peripheral. Jake Coyle, Detroit Free Press, "Review: ‘Skyscraper’ delivers stunts, dumb summer fun," 12 July 2018 Warming aromatics, including cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon, are included to aid digestion and improve peripheral circulation during the cooler months (think cold hands and feet). Laura Regensdorf, Vogue, "Meet the Eckhaus Latta–Approved Herbalist With a Prescription for Balanced Skin and Less Stress," 4 Jan. 2019 Yet peripheral voters still are a substantial minority. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Macron’s Warning to America’s Ascendant Left," 6 Dec. 2018 The main screen was the same size, but the visuals extended down the walls and into the audience’s peripheral vision. Ruth Brown, Fox News, "Meet cinemas' latest effort to fend off Netflix," 14 Aug. 2018 Gaining peripheral vision inside virtual reality is extremely cool, as my colleague Nick Statt discovered. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Pimax opens preorders for its very expensive 8K and 5K VR headsets," 24 Oct. 2018 The strip of flexible material wraps around the back of the head and covers the side of the eyes, blocking up to 60 percent of a wearer’s peripheral vision, Panasonic says. Liz Stinson, Curbed, "Panasonic designed human blinders to block out open-plan office distraction," 18 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Wide-eyed Coco (Natalia Dyer) and bitter Bryson (Billy Magnussen) remain on the peripheral, watching the art world devour itself and trying in vain to find their entry point while remaining unscathed. Candice Frederick, Harper's BAZAAR, "Netflix's Velvet Buzzsaw Shouldn't Work—But It (Mostly) Does," 3 Feb. 2019 If our eyes don’t deceive us, the new peripheral is a far cry from Razer’s previous couch keyboard effort for microconsoles and Steam Machines. Stefan Etienne, The Verge, "Razer teases first Xbox One mouse and keyboard," 17 Dec. 2018 Those sorts of issues, which were once peripheral as Facebook’s growth powered ahead, are now central to the company’s business prospects. Georgia Wells, WSJ, "Facebook Begins New Year in Fixer-Upper Mode," 3 Jan. 2019 Razer HyperSense Razer wants to bring immersion to your peripherals too, using a technology sorely underutilized on PCs: haptic feedback. Brad Chacos, PCWorld, "6 important CES 2019 reveals and trends that PC enthusiasts need to know about," 11 Jan. 2019 Pokémon Go addicts can elect to sync this new peripheral up to their smartphone to catch creatures without turning their phone on, as well. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Pokémon’s first Switch game launches in November, connects to Pokémon Go," 30 May 2018 Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller is a gadget for people with disabilities or limited mobility to more easily use third-party peripherals. Nick Statt, The Verge, "YouTuber gets Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller working on the Nintendo Switch," 26 Nov. 2018 The peripherals are standard household items that are embedded with invisible microphones and integrated together through software and a vast array of interconnecting services. Thomas Ricker, The Verge, "It’s Amazon’s home, and we’re just living in it," 21 Sep. 2018 On top of that, many new peripherals are still using the old connections. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "Guidemaster: Picking the right Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C dock for your desk," 3 July 2018

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.

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First Known Use of peripheral

Adjective

1808, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1966, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

16 Feb 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for peripheral

The first known use of peripheral was in 1808

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More Definitions for peripheral

peripheral

adjective

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

peripheral

noun

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

peripheral

adjective
pe·​riph·​er·​al | \ pə-ˈrif-(ə-)rəl \

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 \ adverb

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