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

Until Mejia’s homer, the Padres spent much of the first four-plus innings chasing Atlanta starter Julio Teheran all over the periphery of the strike zone. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Braves score three in 10th to beat Padres again," 13 July 2019 But right now, there’s no reason to believe the Reds will not continue to stalk the periphery of contention. Paul Daugherty,, "Doc's Morning Line: No matter what you think, USWNT star Megan Rapinoe isn't going away.," 27 June 2019 But along the periphery of this shiny and new renaissance, there are plenty of older commercial buildings, industrial structures that housed retail stores or small manufacturers — businesses that served the community around them. Richard A. Marini,, "These 3 industrial buildings were given a second life in downtown San Antonio," 21 June 2019 Illicit logging, mostly for building materials to house the region’s booming population, has thinned out the periphery of the forest. Peter Schwartzstein, National Geographic, "This vanishing forest protects the coasts—and lives—of two countries," 17 June 2019 On the periphery is Renaldo’s Uncle Tico (Fred Armisen), who helps to both propel and glue the series together in fascinating style. Jason Parham, WIRED, "The Oddball Delights of Los Espookys," 14 June 2019 The same stagnation effect applies, perhaps more extremely, to the gadgets that exist within the phone's periphery. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "For Apple's Big Event on Monday, Hardware Is Just a Sideshow," 21 Mar. 2019 Tightly wound, silent genes tend to be located toward the periphery of the nucleus, while open, active DNA makes its home toward the interior. Quanta Magazine, "In the Nucleus, Genes’ Activity Might Depend on Their Location," 6 Nov. 2018 Cease arrives to a Sox team that’s on the periphery of the wild-card race, in spite of an underwhelming rotation of Lucas Giolito and pray for rain. Paul Sullivan,, "Dylan Cease is following in Michael Kopech’s footsteps — but just not with an all caps tweet from the White Sox this time," 2 July 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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Statistics for periphery

Last Updated

22 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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

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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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).


something desired as essential

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