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)

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Other Words from peripheral


peripherally adverb

Synonyms & Antonyms for peripheral

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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 Women from 15-20 peripheral forest-dependent villages were also involved in the drive. Pragati Prava, Quartz India, "An Odisha village woman’s journey from protecting peacocks to the Indian parliament," 26 Jan. 2020 Upon taking the helm, Mao followed Luo’s exhortation and prioritized the reoccupation of the empire’s peripheral regions, including Xinjiang, Tibet, and Inner Mongolia. Daniel Tenreiro, National Review, "Taiwan’s Election Rebuked Xi Jinping," 23 Jan. 2020 Players might care about all this, in a peripheral kind of way. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: Here's why the Cincinnati Bengals won't be the 49ers or Chiefs," 21 Jan. 2020 Others, like Britain, may restrict Huawei to peripheral parts of their networks. The Economist, "The World in 2020 The Splinternet of Things threatens 5G’s potential," 25 Dec. 2019 While Star Wars films haven’t strayed far from Skywalkers, peripheral stories have been more brave about boldly going where no one has gone before. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "What Is Star Wars Without the Skywalkers?," 23 Dec. 2019 Care for the poor and the planet then becomes central, not peripheral, for those who intend to live in faith and hope, by the Spirit, between the resurrection of Jesus and the coming renewal of all things. N.t. Wright, Time, "The New Testament Doesn’t Say What Most People Think It Does About Heaven," 16 Dec. 2019 History warns, however, that other issues could intrude, from crime or the stability of Britain’s National Health Service to an external shock, like a terrorist attack, or a peripheral issue that assumes symbolic importance. Mark Landler, New York Times, "Britain to Hold Election in December, Opening New Phase in Brexit Odyssey," 29 Oct. 2019 This left peripheral parties and their regions without a say in matters of the state. Yohannes Gedamu, Quartz Africa, "The new political party of Ethiopia’s Abiy holds much promise but faces significant hurdles," 13 Dec. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun There are some underlying peripherals that have made Chicago a frequent fade during their 14-4 surge. Skip Snow, USA TODAY Sportsbook Wire, "Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks odds, picks and best bets," 19 Jan. 2020 Snow White also included peripherals like monitors and printers. Dieter Bohn, The Verge, "A photo history of Frog, the company that designed the original Mac," 26 June 2019 The Arctis 5s—and the whole Arctis line—are beautiful headsets that lack the jagged edges and red/black color scheme that dominate gaming peripherals. Nicole Carpenter, USA TODAY, "The best gaming headsets of 2019 for PC, Xbox One X, PS4, and more," 16 Oct. 2019 Other times, runners may need to use unusual peripherals or need special setups for donation incentives to the charity fundraising drive. Washington Post, "How to run a AGDQ: Step one, have an entire computer store on hand," 14 Jan. 2020 Razer Co-Founder and CEO Min-Liang Tan has been trying to build an ecosystem of software and services for gamers to reduce Razer’s reliance on hardware peripherals such as gaming mice and keyboards. Yoolim Lee, Fortune, "This Video Gaming Giant Wants to Dominate Digital Banking," 2 Jan. 2020 That's a lot to spend on peripherals for a device that is all about accessible pricing. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "The 2019 iPad races to the bottom (price-wise), but it’s not so bad down there," 23 Oct. 2019 Devotees of mechanical keyboards are often known for their benevolent obsession with building custom peripherals. Wired, "The Big Lure of Tiny Keyboards," 8 Oct. 2019 With award-winning titles like Breath of the Wild and Super Mario Odyssey at hand, the Nintendo Switch is the must-have gaming peripheral for the 2019 holiday season. Lee Neikirk, USA TODAY, "Best tech gifts: The 20 top gift ideas for people who love gadgets," 15 Oct. 2019

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


1808, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1966, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for peripheral

Time Traveler

The first known use of peripheral was in 1808

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Statistics for peripheral

Last Updated

16 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Peripheral.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for peripheral


How to pronounce peripheral (audio)

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 peripherally (audio) \ adverb

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