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

The temple’s periphery is plastered with posters depicting scenes from the soap. The Economist, "A historical soap reveals a lot about modern Thai politics," 31 May 2018 The researchers introduced the implant through a tiny incision in one eye's outer periphery using a minuscule set of forceps. Melissa Healy,, "This retinal implant may one day cure blindness caused by macular degeneration," 5 Apr. 2018 The 28-year-old had found himself on the periphery of Jose Mourinho's plans at Old Trafford last season after making just 17 appearances, leaving his future with the Red Devils at a crossroads at the start of the summer., "Daley Blind Expected to Depart Man Utd Within '48 Hours' to Rejoin Ajax," 12 July 2018 For the two to be reconciled, Mr Denham believes, England must be given a parliament to match those in Britain’s peripheries. The Economist, "English or British? Football highlights an enduring identity crisis," 12 July 2018 Countries on the Russian periphery cannot count on NATO support to chart future directions away from Moscow. Heather Hurlburt, Daily Intelligencer, "Even the Best-Case Scenario for What Trump Does at the NATO Summit Is Pretty Grim," 9 July 2018 On the periphery of that crowd stood Elmer Freeman. Adrian Walker,, "Whittier Street board votes to name the headquarters for the center’s director. Maybe the staff should have gotten a vote," 8 July 2018 Russians before Genghis Khan were just a periphery of Byzantium and Europe. Yaroslav Trofimov, WSJ, "Russia’s Turn to Its Asian Past," 6 July 2018 There has been discussion of World Cup global politics, but there’s another story here: The tournament’s locales also reveal much about center-periphery politics in Russia. Konstantin Ash, Washington Post, "Russia put World Cup stadiums in some surprising places. This is why.," 23 June 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

30 Sep 2018

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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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