1 of 3

adjective (1)

: of a dark grayish blue resembling indigo

per se

2 of 3


 also  per-ˈsā,
(ˌ)pər-ˈsē How to pronounce per se (audio)
: by, of, or in itself or oneself or themselves : as such : intrinsically

per se

3 of 3

adjective (2)

: being such inherently, clearly, or as a matter of law
a per se conflict of interest

Did you know?

We generally use per se to distinguish between something in its narrow sense and some larger thing that it represents. Thus, you may have no objection to educational testing per se, but rather to the way testing is done. An opposition party may attack a president's policy not because they dislike the policy per se but because they want to weaken the president. And when New York's police chief decided to crack down on small crimes, it wasn't the small crimes per se that were his target, but instead the larger crimes which he believed would be reduced because of this new approach.

Examples of perse in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Most baseball movies are not, per se, about baseball. Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 May 2024 Make no mistake, there’s not really such a thing as a bad jerkbait, per se. Joe Cermele, Outdoor Life, 9 May 2024 But there is a profound difference between fighting back against mandates and prohibiting consumer products per se, and, here, Florida has done the latter. The Editors, National Review, 7 May 2024 While there’s no ideal timeline, per se, from movie release to attraction, D’Amaro’s team typically has an early look at coming film and TV projects in order to envision next steps. Caitlin Huston, The Hollywood Reporter, 24 Apr. 2024 While Italy is never a bad idea per se, there are times when the the high-heeled boot kicks better than others. Charlie Hobbs, Condé Nast Traveler, 5 Apr. 2024 These transcriptions were no longer piano etudes, per se, but the performances conveyed the essence of practicing, of learning a piece by slowly going over and over passages, getting more and more inside the sound of your instrument. Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times, 4 Apr. 2024 Even something like Content Warning, which isn't based on reality TV per se, but still scratches the itch of capturing reality to go viral, has proven there's a hunger for this kind of gameplay. Megan Farokhmanesh, WIRED, 4 Apr. 2024 Housekeeping for Beginners will not tell you much about keeping order amidst domestic chaos, per se. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 3 Apr. 2024
Kendall has always been on a pretty individual, and individualistic, path in terms of his pursuit of the crown, per se. Clark Collis,, 22 Mar. 2023 Harden and the Rockets didn't enter the 2020 playoffs as championship favorites per se, though the partnership between Houston's superstar and then-co-star Russell Westbrook was quite successful for much of the 2019-20 season. Michael Shapiro, Chron, 15 Mar. 2023 Instead, Lucid leaders see a bright future in cars that aim for maximum efficiency — rather than range per se — via smaller, more-affordable batteries. IEEE Spectrum, 11 Mar. 2023 The band’s dazzling creations were not jazz, fusion or world music, per se, but a beguiling combination of all of them — and more. San Diego Union-Tribune, 2 Mar. 2023 This price point is exceptional for beginners who want to try juicing for the first time, per se, for its health benefits. Brittany Vanderbill, Better Homes & Gardens, 15 Nov. 2022 Indeed, many in the past have made strong points that disruption like this, per se, is overrated. Jens Martin Skibsted, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2022 Not pita, per se — there’s no pocket, for one — but closer to a compact version of laffa, the high-hydration Iraqi bread that was an early inspiration. oregonlive, 16 Dec. 2022 While not a debate — per se — the two candidates who are hoping to win your vote on Nov. 8 sat with me separately for two segments, answering essentially the same questions. Carol Cain, Detroit Free Press, 30 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'perse.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Adjective (1)

Middle English pers, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin persus



First Known Use

Adjective (1)

15th century, in the meaning defined above


1574, in the meaning defined above

Adjective (2)

circa 1655, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of perse was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near perse

per se



Cite this Entry

“Perse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 May. 2024.

Legal Definition

per se

1 of 2 adverb
: inherently, strictly, or by operation of statute, constitutional provision or doctrine, or case law
the transaction was illegal per se
see also negligence per se at negligence, nuisance per se at nuisance
: without proof of special damages or reference to extrinsic circumstances
defamatory statements that were actionable per se
compare per quod

per se

2 of 2 adjective
: being such inherently, clearly, or by operation of statute, constitutional provision or doctrine, or case law
it is clear that licensing of adult entertainment establishments is not a per se violation of the First AmendmentClub Southern Burlesque, Inc. v. City of Carrollton, 457 S.E.2d 816 (1995)
a per se conflict of interest


Latin, by, of, or in itself

Biographical Definition


biographical name

St. John see Aléxis Saint-Léger léger
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