pe·​riph·​ery | \ pə-ˈri-f(ə-)rē \
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

Not even Donald Trump represents a full victory of the periphery, having run two percentage points behind Hillary Clinton in the nationwide popular vote. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Macron’s Warning to America’s Ascendant Left," 6 Dec. 2018 With 2019 inching its way into the periphery, the early itch for a New Year, New Me makeover is a tangible one. Calin Van Paris, Vogue, "9 Short Cuts That Make the Case for a Dramatic Holiday Hair Makeover," 30 Nov. 2018 The trip, featuring Francis' fondness for countries on the periphery, and ecumenical events with Lutheran and Russian Orthodox faithful will be a welcome break for the Argentine pope. Fox News, "Russia looms in background as pope travels to Baltics," 21 Sep. 2018 Richard was always on the periphery, watching and shooting. Rebecca Makkai,, "An excerpt from 'The Great Believers' by Rebecca Makkai: 1985," 21 May 2018 If the Millirons have their way, of course, their next move will be to an even wilder periphery, a vertical emigration to the moon—or beyond. Geoff Manaugh, The Atlantic, "Los Angeles, America’s Future Spaceport," 17 May 2018 This means religious competition is not so much about core scriptural beliefs—but exists on the periphery of religious and welfare-service provision. Sriya Iyer, WSJ, "The Marketplace of Faith," 27 Dec. 2018 Currently on the periphery of Japan's international squad heading into the World Cup, getting a work permit for Muto to play the in the Premier League could prove problematic., "Mainz 05 Striker Reveals Premier League Ambition Amid Links With Summer Move to Newcastle," 3 May 2018 The Cincinnati Bengals, always lurking on the periphery of a young man in Northern Kentucky, became my new team. Richard Fitch,, "Guest TML: Who are Dey? We know. Don't we?," 19 Jan. 2018

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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Statistics for periphery

Last Updated

21 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for periphery

The first known use of periphery was circa 1568

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More Definitions for periphery



English Language Learners Definition of periphery

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


pe·​riph·​ery | \ pə-ˈrif-(ə-)rē \
plural -eries

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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Comments on periphery

What made you want to look up periphery? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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