\ ˈpərm How to pronounce perm (audio) \

Definition of perm

 (Entry 1 of 2)


permed; perming; perms

Definition of perm (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to give (hair) a permanent wave

Examples of perm in a Sentence


She got a perm last week.


She got her hair permed at the salon.

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Students in the hairdressing and cosmetology department offer cuts and colors and perms. Denise Coffey,, "Ellis Tech Grads Urged To Do Their Best," 17 June 2019 Water can turn their professional perms into curly Afros. Byron Mccauley,, "The fatal drowning rate for black kids is stark. History is part of that.," 13 June 2019 With everything ‘80s making a comeback, the perm could be next—but as usual, animals are way ahead of us. Liz Langley, National Geographic, "Curly-haired pigs and other animals with natural waves," 3 Apr. 2019 Once there, women often spring for cuts, perms, straightening, and other treatments. Longreads, "True Roots," 5 June 2019 With his perm, soothing voice and chambray shirts unbuttoned nearly to the navel, Mr. Ross was an instantly recognizable hit. Kelly Crow, WSJ, "A Renaissance for Bob Ross: Fans Want the ‘Joy of Painting’ Host to Have a Spot in Art History," 21 Aug. 2018 Laura Ashley’s matching floral frocks in the brand’s late 1980s heyday, with matching perms, spring to mind. Michelle Ruiz, WSJ, "Mommy-and-Me Style: Cute or Creepy?," 17 July 2018 Let this set from Korean store W Concept convince you to try the trend, no perm necessary. Sarah Spellings, The Cut, "Would You Wear a Shorts Suit?," 13 July 2018 Having a perm allowed me to go dance, sweat, and not have to get my hair done the next day. Jessica Chia, Allure, "Three Women Open Up About Embracing Their Natural Hair & Leaving Relaxers Behind," 20 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

That's why most salons won't perm lightened hair, because it's already damaged from color treatments. Erin Reimel, Glamour, "I Got a Perm (Yes, a Perm) in Search of Perfect Beach Waves," 23 Mar. 2019 The sloped shape of it serves to give your lashes a curved shape to form to when slathered in perming lotion. Sable Yong, Allure, "I Got a Lash Lift — Which Is Basically a Perm For Your Eyelashes," 23 July 2018 In fact, between talking about haircuts and cold waves — a technique being taught to perm hair that uses a cold chemical wash over rollers — many took the opportunity to share their more-pressing concerns with us., "Makeup in Lockup: Beauty, Power, & Danger in Women's Prisons," 2 June 2018 Hair was permed and teased-out, blush was blindingly bright and angled on sharply, eye shadow was contoured, and mascara was coated on with a heavy hand — and all of these together would have constituted a look. Hannah Morrill, Allure, "9 Beauty Looks Inspired by the ‘80s That You’ll Want to Wear Now," 16 Feb. 2018 In 2016, Pantene (owned by P&G) launched Gold Series, a mix of products for natural, permed, and transitioning hair. Jessica Cruel, SELF, "The Beauty Aisle Is Segregated—and I’m OK With That," 2 Feb. 2018 Check all that apply: My hair is dyed, chemically straightened, permed, braided/in locs, has extensions. Dyed. Ashley Weatherford, The Cut, "The Secret to This Mile-Long Hair Is Drugstore Shampoo and Conditioner," 25 Oct. 2017 In the ’90s, Mario Lopez‘s curly permed hair from Saved By The Bell was the height of hair achievement. Kaitlyn Frey,, "Eva Longoria Thinks Mario Lopez's 'Wig Is a Little Too Puffy' - and He Wants You to Weigh In," 13 Oct. 2017 In Nebraska, can a parent without a proper license perm their child’s hair? Carolyn Kellogg,, "Books: Lost in Korean-English translation, another winner from Celeste Ng, science fiction and more," 23 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perm.' 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 perm


1927, in the meaning defined above


1928, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for perm

Last Updated

27 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for perm

The first known use of perm was in 1927

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More Definitions for perm



English Language Learners Definition of perm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a process in which someone's hair is curled and treated with chemicals so that it remains curly for a long time



English Language Learners Definition of perm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make (hair) curly for a long time by using chemicals : to give a perm to (hair)

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More from Merriam-Webster on perm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with perm

Spanish Central: Translation of perm Encyclopedia article about perm

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