performance

noun

per·​for·​mance pər-ˈfȯr-mən(t)s How to pronounce performance (audio)
pə-
1
a
: the execution of an action
b
: something accomplished : deed, feat
2
: the fulfillment of a claim, promise, or request : implementation
3
a
: the action of representing a character in a play
b
: a public presentation or exhibition
a benefit performance
4
a
: the ability to perform : efficiency
b
: the manner in which a mechanism performs
engine performance
5
: the manner of reacting to stimuli : behavior
6
: the linguistic behavior of an individual : parole
also : the ability to speak a certain language compare competence sense 1c

Example Sentences

This evening's performance will start at 8 o'clock. The hall is usually used for orchestra performances. The critics loved her performance as the villain. A supervisor will evaluate each employee's performance. employees with strong job performances Employees are given an annual performance assessment. The gas additive improves engine performance. an increased level of performance We've introduced new performance levels. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Tumi’s transfer of all of these materials to make something reliable and have a high level of performance. Viju Mathew, Robb Report, 20 Nov. 2022 What artist would want to tap into the flow of my caviling thoughts in the middle of a performance? Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 After years of knocking on the door, Skyridge bests state-power Corner Canyon 17-7 with a gem of a defensive performance. Kevin Reynolds, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Nov. 2022 Chronicle members can enter for a chance to win a pair of tickets, which can be picked up at Will-Call at Blue Shield California Theater on the day of the performance. San Francisco Chronicle, 17 Nov. 2022 Brendan Fraser was in awe of costar Sadie Sink's performance. Benjamin Vanhoose, Peoplemag, 17 Nov. 2022 Deren was not quite a dancer, untrained as an actor, but endowed with charisma and temperament, craving not so much to be seen as to be recognized, turning her tumultuous private social life into a kind of performance. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 16 Nov. 2022 The end of this performance is especially impressive — those high notes! Maggie Fremont, EW.com, 15 Nov. 2022 The trailer ends with kinetic scenes of rehearsals and snippets of the actual performance, with romantic moments also shown between the two leads. Dan Heching, CNN, 15 Nov. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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

Dictionary Entries Near performance

Cite this Entry

“Performance.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/performance. Accessed 1 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

performance

noun

per·​for·​mance pə(r)-ˈfȯr-mən(t)s How to pronounce performance (audio)
1
a
: the doing of an action
b
: something accomplished : deed, feat
2
a
: the action of representing a character in a play
b
: a public presentation
3
: the manner in which something performs
an engine's performance

Legal Definition

performance

noun

per·​for·​mance
1
: work done in employment
unsatisfactory performance
2
a
: what is required to be performed in fulfillment of a contract, promise, or obligation
substituted a new performance in novation of the contract
b
: the fulfillment of a contract, promise, or obligation
part performance
: partial performance of a contract, promise, or obligation
: a doctrine which provides an exception to the Statute of Frauds requirement that a contract be in writing by treating partial performance and the acceptance of it by the other party as evidence of an enforceable contract compare partial breach at breach
specific performance
: the complete or exact fulfillment of the terms of a contract, promise, or obligation
: an equitable remedy that requires a party to fulfill the exact terms of a contract, promise, obligation, or decree mandating a remedy and that is used when legal remedies (as damages) are inadequate the common law prohibition against specific performance as a remedy for alleged breach of employment contract Chady v. Solomon Schechter Day Schs., 645 N.E.2d 983 (1995) compare injunction
substantial performance
: performance of the essential terms of a contract, promise, or obligation a contractor is not entitled to a lien in the absence of substantial performance Casa Linda Tile & Marble Installers, Inc. v. Highlands Place 1981 Ltd., 642 So. 2d 766 (1994)
: a doctrine which permits a party (as a builder) that acted in good faith to recover from the other party to a contract for a performance that departs in minor respects from what was promised compare material breach at breach
3
: a public rendition or presentation of an artistic work

More from Merriam-Webster on performance

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