peripheral

adjective
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

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

While most baseball searches at most major universities would feel like peripheral hires, given how things have dragged out and transpired at Oregon State, there are a lot of eyes on Barnes. oregonlive.com, "Canzano: Tangled times in Corvallis -- Oregon State AD boxed in by baseball hire," 6 June 2019 By bypassing your peripheral tissues, MCTs are less likely to be stored as fat in your body. Jaclyn London, Ms, Rd, Cdn, Good Housekeeping, "The Truth About Bulletproof Coffee, According to a Nutritionist," 5 Nov. 2018 The study’s findings came from investigating how early pancreatic tumors affect peripheral tissues — mainly muscle and fat — in both mice and humans. Justin Chen, STAT, "Muscle and fat loss may offer clues to pancreatic cancer’s deadly ways," 20 June 2018 These [loci] are by definition in peripheral genes. Quanta Magazine, "Theory Suggests That All Genes Affect Every Complex Trait," 20 June 2018 By today’s standards, these proposals are peripheral, small-scale interventions that are simply no match for the debt people are dealing with. Adam Harris, The Atlantic, "The Decade That Changed the Student-Debt Debate," 5 June 2019 There is a lot of evidence suggesting that peripheral or systemic inflammation may be a driver of Alzheimer’s disease,’’ said Walker, the Johns Hopkins researcher. Christopher Rowland, Washington Post, "Pfizer had clues its blockbuster drug could prevent Alzheimer’s. Why didn’t it tell the world?," 4 June 2019 While knowing the music of A Tribe Called Quest certainly aids in enjoyment — as does having at least a peripheral knowledge of hip-hop — it isn’t required. Joshua James Amberson, The Seattle Times, "Hanif Abdurraqib’s ‘Go Ahead in the Rain’ is a biography of A Tribe Called Quest. It’s also much more.," 12 Apr. 2019 Whose precipitous shoulder pads impaired their peripheral vision? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Who Wore the Biggest Shoulders at the 2019 Met Gala? An Investigation," 7 May 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

These two deities of American song are currently scheduled to live forever, but in the 21st century their new music feels culty and peripheral. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Bruce Springsteen and Madonna are subcultures now," 17 June 2019 Issues that are actually important, such as the monopoly market and speech-squelching power of big-tech firms such as Facebook and Twitter, are treated as peripheral. Jeremy Carl, National Review, "Debating Net Neutrality: Big-Tech Monopolies Are the Real Problem," 11 June 2019 Titan Ridge actually came out earlier last year, but the chipsets are still relatively rare in peripherals and laptops. Gordon Mah Ung, PCWorld, "Razer's Core X Chroma eGPU cabinet features RGB and Intel's latest Thunderbolt 3 controller," 16 Apr. 2019 First, of course, your PC must be running the latest Insider builds (not 18356, but 18335 or higher is recommended), and include a Bluetooth radio that supports low energy peripheral technology. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "Android phone mirroring arrives in new Windows 10 preview build 18356," 13 Mar. 2019 About 450 peripherals have also been designed around Thunderbolt, Intel said. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, "The new USB4 spec promises a lot: Thunderbolt 3 support, 40Gbps bandwidth, and less confusion," 5 Mar. 2019 Corsair One: Gamers know Corsair’s peripherals—keyboards, cases, headsets, fans. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How To Get Into the High-Powered World of Gaming PCs," 20 Sep. 2018 To help adjust, a whole industry of charging peripherals have grown up with smartphones, offering power hungry users extra juice to get through their day. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "Power Up With RavPower's Discounted Chargers and Power Banks," 26 Feb. 2019 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

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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Statistics for peripheral

Last Updated

22 Jun 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 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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Comments on peripheral

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