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

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web
While not a Georgian recipe per se, Jewish Food Hero says her inspiration came from learning about the Jews of Georgia (as in the Baltic state near Russia — not to be confused with Georgia, the state in the U.S.). USA TODAY, 6 Dec. 2022 Bresson devised a distinctive method for directing them, filming dozens of takes in order to strip them of dramatic expression; Straub wasn’t averse to dramatic expression per se, only to its conventional forms and uses. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 23 Nov. 2022 The distinction is meant to clarify that companies buying these credits are merely supporting carbon-cutting activity in a general, corporate-social-responsibility sense, and not directly offsetting their own emissions per se. Tim Mcdonnell, Quartz, 18 Nov. 2022 The books weren’t acquired at random per se—but rather they were acquired based on the particular (and sometimes peculiar) tastes of their editors. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 3 Nov. 2022 While not a legal problem per se, Spacey’s career does not appear poised to recover anytime soon. Victoria Bekiempis, Vulture, 3 Oct. 2022 Sleep anxiety is not an official sleep disorder, per se. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, 28 Dec. 2022 With no upper bowl of seating, per se, the Mullett’s roofline is far closer to the ice surface than any of the league’s 31 other buildings. Kevin Paul Dupont,, 9 Dec. 2022 Showalter is not a cinematic stylist, per se, but more of a nuts-and-bolts filmmaker, managing tone and pace. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 1 Dec. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perse.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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

Cite this Entry

“Perse.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Feb. 2023.

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

History and Etymology for perse


Latin, by, of, or in itself

Biographical Definition


biographical name

St. John see Aléxis Saint-Léger léger
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