pe·​riph·​ery | \ pə-ˈri-f(ə-)rē How to pronounce periphery (audio) \
plural peripheries

Definition of periphery

1 : the perimeter of a circle or other closed curve also : the perimeter of a polygon
2 : the external boundary or surface of a body
3a : the outward bounds of something as distinguished from its internal regions or center : confines
b : an area lying beyond the strict limits of a thing

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Examples of periphery in a Sentence

the dogs are confined by an invisible electronic fence that runs along the periphery of the yard
Recent Examples on the Web The banking regulator’s ability to monitor large mergers, particularly on the country’s peripheries, is uncertain. Washington Post, "A Too-Big-to-Fail Toxic Monster. China’s Plan C?," 26 Nov. 2019 So he’s mostly left to bluster and primal-scream on the periphery, like a windup toy wearing itself out in the corner of a playroom. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "Review: Apple’s ‘Morning Show’? Wait for the Upgrade," 31 Oct. 2019 Schwartz and Nilson had only toiled on the peripheries of Hollywood, working on commercials and short films. Jake Coyle,, "For Zack and Shia, a buddy movie becomes a real friendship," 9 Aug. 2019 There’s a lot of directions Serkis could take the sequel, but having the latest Venom-centric event in his periphery could certainly help him ensure the longevity of the franchise. Richard Newby, The Hollywood Reporter, "Will Andy Serkis Take 'Venom 2' in a Darker Direction?," 8 Aug. 2019 Surprising teams like the White Sox, Padres, Rangers and others remain on the periphery (or right in the thick) of the playoff race as we near the midseason point. The Si Staff,, "Which Fringe Contenders Should Be Aggressive at the Trade Deadline?," 26 June 2019 On a typical sitcom, this joke might come from an elder on the periphery, exchanging zingers with his young co-stars. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "TV’s Senior Moment," 13 Nov. 2018 At roughly 324 square miles, Memphis was nearly twice the size of Detroit, with roughly the same population, and new developments sprang up along its periphery. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Memphis downtown boom fueled by riverfront city’s rich history," 25 Sep. 2018 Street hawkers sell peanuts and popcorn on the periphery. Swati Gupta, Manveena Suri And Julia Hollingsworth, CNN, "'They tried to stifle the voices of our children': Meet the women protesters who have been occupying a New Delhi street for a month," 14 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'periphery.' 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 periphery

circa 1568, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for periphery

Middle French peripherie, from Late Latin peripheria, from Greek periphereia, from peripherein to carry around, from peri- + pherein to carry — more at bear

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Time Traveler for periphery

Time Traveler

The first known use of periphery was circa 1568

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Statistics for periphery

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Periphery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for periphery


How to pronounce periphery (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of periphery

formal : the outside edge of an area : the area that surrounds a place or thing


pe·​riph·​ery | \ pə-ˈrif-(ə-)rē How to pronounce periphery (audio) \
plural peripheries

Medical Definition of periphery

1 : the outward bounds of something as distinguished from its internal regions or center
2 : the regions (as the sense organs, the muscles, or the viscera) in which nerves terminate

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