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 Six years on, the extremist group has been reduced to hiding out across rugged terrain on the periphery of state control in Iraq and Syria. Louisa Loveluck, Washington Post, "U.S.-led coalition to withdraw hundreds of troops from smaller bases in Iraq," 16 Mar. 2020 Much of the damage was in poorer areas on the periphery of Santiago and other cities. The Economist, "Remodelling the model Can Chile reinvent itself?," 12 Mar. 2020 Even more a part of this notion is the assumption that journalists, reporters, and editors are subhuman and expected to be on the periphery of the human experience. Sara Li, Teen Vogue, "Journalistic Objectivity Isn’t Realistic, Young Reporters Say," 6 Mar. 2020 While men loom on the periphery of the lovers’ time together, the movie doesn’t dwell on the larger world, instead focusing on a sisterhood that was real and familiar to the filmmaker and her collaborators. Sage Young,, "The Most Romantic Movie Of 2020 Is A Period Drama Without A Man In Sight," 28 Feb. 2020 Real estate investors already are looking at additional sites for residential projects on the periphery of the nearly 7-acre property that Sherwin-Williams has tied up, stretching north of Superior on both sides of West Third Street. Michelle Jarboe, cleveland, "Sherwin-Williams’ pick of new Cleveland HQ site stirs talk of more activity downtown," 9 Feb. 2020 By rallying around school prayer, Trump is rekindling a debate that reached a crescendo in the 1980s and ‘90s but has fallen to the periphery of national politics. Washington Post, "Trump boosts school prayer, faith groups as he rallies base," 16 Jan. 2020 As the cast grows, many characters who were ostensibly protagonists get pushed to the periphery, disappearing for interminably long stretches as Johns and artist Gary Frank seemingly forget about them. Graeme Mcmillan, Wired, "The World of Watchmen Ended Twice This Week," 18 Dec. 2019 But New York fell to 41-51 with a loss in its first game following the All-Star break and could climb only to the periphery of the wild-card race before finishing 86-76, third in the division behind Philadelphia and World Series champion Washington. Mike Fitzpatrick, Houston Chronicle, "Source: Mets to hire former Astro Carlos Beltrán as manager," 1 Nov. 2019

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

31 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Periphery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Apr. 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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