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 But a scorching stretch has vaulted them past the Stars and on the periphery of the playoff picture. Matthew Defranks, Dallas News, "While Stars remain confident after loss to Panthers, they’re running out of time to turn the season around," 28 Mar. 2021 Within the encampments and on their periphery, drug disputes are being resolved with bullets by people less afraid to carry firearms than before, Palazzolo said. Kevin Rector, Los Angeles Times, "Surge in South L.A. bloodshed tied to gunfire from high-capacity firearms, gang feuds," 15 Dec. 2020 Some blame Delhi’s vehicles, others the industries and thermal plants on its periphery, and others still its mounting solid waste disposal problem. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, "Delhi’s air pollution could have a fix in behavioural economics," 29 Oct. 2020 The Trump administration has intensified America’s focus on China and its periphery, labeling Beijing a strategic competitor that is undermining the international order. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, "It’s the world according to Trump: Could Biden turn back the clock?," 16 Oct. 2020 From the periphery of the heroin and opioid crisis, garnering the national spotlight, meth has quietly resurged more dangerous than ever. Beth Warren, The Courier-Journal, "A deadly trick: Mexican cartels sneak meth into US in candles shaped like penises, pharaohs," 31 Mar. 2021 Still, looking in from the periphery has some advantages. Alfredo Sosa, The Christian Science Monitor, "In Pictures: Standing outside and looking in," 30 Mar. 2021 The only green space in the area is Dealey Plaza, which is on the periphery, straddles a high-speed corridor, and is more of a tourist site than a genuine park. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "With West End Square, Dallas gets a (very) smart park," 25 Mar. 2021 Of course, whiteness is going to be on the periphery for these characters. Bethanne Patrick, Los Angeles Times, "Novelist Kaitlyn Greenidge thinks the Song of Solomon is ‘the “WAP” of the Bible’," 24 Mar. 2021

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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Periphery.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for periphery



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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