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    perfecta (n.) — perpetrate (v.)

    perfecta (n.)

    method of betting in which the bettor must pick the first- and second-place finishers in correct order, 1971, from American Spanish perfecta, shortened from quiniela perfecta "perfect quiniela," a bet in horseracing (see quinella); for perfecta, see perfect (adj.).ETD perfecta (n.).2

    perfectionist (n.)

    1650s, from perfection + -ist. Originally theological, "one who believes moral perfection may be attained in earthly existence, one who believes a sinless life is obtainable." The belief has prevailed from time to time in some Catholic communities, Arminian Methodists, the Society of Friends, etc. The sense of "one satisfied only with the highest standards" is from 1934. Related: Perfectionism.ETD perfectionist (n.).2

    perfectly (adv.)

    c. 1300, parfitli, "completely, thoroughly, wholly;" see perfect (adj.) + -ly (2). Meaning "flawlessly, in perfect form or manner" is from late 14c.ETD perfectly (adv.).2

    perfervid (adj.)

    "very hot, very ardent," 1830, as if from Latin *perfervidus, from per "completely" (see per) + fervidus "glowing, burning; vehement" (see fervid). Related: Perfervidly.ETD perfervid (adj.).2

    perfidy (n.)

    "breach of faith or trust, base treachery," 1590s, from French perfidie (16c.), from Latin perfidia "faithlessness, falsehood, treachery," from perfidus "faithless," from phrase per fidem decipere "to deceive through trustingness," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + fidem (nominative fides) "faith" (from PIE root *bheidh- "to trust, confide, persuade").ETD perfidy (n.).2

    perfidious (adj.)

    "faithless, basely treacherous," 1590s, from Latin perfidiosus "treacherous," from perfidia "faithlessness" (see perfidy). Related: Perfidiously; perfidiousness.ETD perfidious (adj.).2

    perforation (n.)

    early 15c., perforacioun, "hole made through something;" mid-15c., "action of boring or piercing," from Medieval Latin perforationem (nominative perforatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin perforare "bore or pierce through," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + forare "to pierce" (from PIE root *bhorh- "hole").ETD perforation (n.).2

    perforate (v.)

    "bore through, pierce, make a hole or holes in," late 15c. (implied in perforated), a back-formation from perforation or else from Latin perforatus, past participle of perforare "to bore through, pierce through," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + forare "to pierce" (from PIE root *bhorh- "hole"). Related: Perforating.ETD perforate (v.).2

    perforce (adv.)

    "by physical force or violence, forcibly," c. 1300, par force, from Old French phrase par force (12c.), literally "by force" (see force). With Latin per substituted 17c. in place of its French offspring par.ETD perforce (adv.).2


    "of or pertaining to performance," 1955, adjective and noun, coined by British philosopher of language J.L. Austin (1911-1960), from perform + -ive, perhaps on model of informative.ETD performative.2

    performer (n.)

    1580s, "one who accomplishes or fulfills," agent noun from perform (v.). Theatrical sense of "one who takes part in a play or public entertainment of any kind" is from 1711.ETD performer (n.).2

    perform (v.)

    c. 1300, performen, "carry into effect, fulfill, discharge, carry out what is demanded or required," via Anglo-French performer, performir, altered (by influence of Old French forme "form") from Old French parfornir "to do, carry out, finish, accomplish," from par- "completely" (see per-) + fornir "to provide" (see furnish). Church Latin had a compound performo "to form thoroughly, to form."ETD perform (v.).2

    Theatrical/musical senses of "act or represent on or as on a stage; sing or render on a musical instrument" are from c. 1600. The verb was used with wider senses in Middle English than now, including "to make, construct; produce, bring about;" also "come true" (of dreams), and to performen muche time was "to live long." Related: Performed; performing; performable.ETD perform (v.).3

    performance (n.)

    late 15c., "accomplishment, completion" (of something), from perform + -ance. Meaning "that which is accomplished, a thing performed" is from 1590s; that of "action of performing a play, etc." is from 1610s; that of "a public entertainment" is from 1709. The earlier noun in Middle English was performing (late 14c.) "state of completion, accomplishment of an act." Performance art is attested from 1971.ETD performance (n.).2

    perfume (v.)

    1530s, "to fill with smoke or vapor," from perfume (n.) or from French parfumer. Meaning "to impart a sweet scent to" is from 1530s. Related: Perfumed; perfuming.ETD perfume (v.).2

    perfume (n.)

    1530s, "fumes from a burning substance," from French parfum (16c.), from parfumer "to scent," from Old Provençal perfumar or cognate words in dialectal Italian (perfumare) or Spanish (perfumar), from Latin per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + fumare "to smoke" (see fume (n.)). Meaning "substance containing agreeable essences of flowers, etc.," is attested from 1540s.ETD perfume (n.).2

    perfunctory (adj.)

    "done mechanically or without interest or zeal and merely for the sake of being rid of the duty of doing it; done so as to conform to the letter but not the spirit," 1580s, from Late Latin perfunctorius "careless, negligent," literally "like one who wishes to get through a thing," from Latin perfungus, past participle of perfungi "discharge, busy oneself, get through," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + fungi "perform" (see function (n.)). Related: Perfunctorily.ETD perfunctory (adj.).2

    perfusion (n.)

    "a pouring through, a causing to permeate," 1570s, from French perfusion and directly from Latin perfusionem (nominative perfusio) "a pouring over," noun of action from past-participle stem of perfundere "pour out," from per "throughout" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + fundere "to pour" (from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- "to pour").ETD perfusion (n.).2

    perfuse (v.)

    early 15c., perfusen, "to wash away;" 1520s, "to sprinkle, pour or spread over or through," from Latin perfusus, past participle of perfundere "to pour over, besprinkle," from per (see per) + fundere "to pour, melt" (from nasalized form of PIE root *gheu- "to pour").ETD perfuse (v.).2

    pergola (n.)

    latticework structure for climbing plants, 1670s, from Italian pergola, from Latin pergula "school, lecture room; projecting roof; shed, booth; vine arbor," a word of uncertain origin; perhaps from pergere "to come forward."ETD pergola (n.).2

    perhaps (adv.)

    "possibly," late 15c., perhappes, with adverbial genitive, from earlier perhap (mid-14c.), from per, par "by, through" (see per) + plural of hap "chance" (see happen), on model of peradventure, perchance, etc. which now have been superseded by this word. Perhappons "possibly, by chance" is recorded from late 15c.ETD perhaps (adv.).2

    peri (n.)

    1777, from Persian pari, from Avestan pairika. One of a race of superhuman female beings originally represented as malevolent descendants of the fallen angels, later as angelic genii (compare sense evolution of English fairy, to which it is, however, unrelated).ETD peri (n.).2


    word-forming element in words of Greek origin or formation meaning "around, about, enclosing," from Greek peri (prep.) "around, about, beyond," cognate with Sanskrit pari "around, about, through," Latin per, from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "in front of, before, first, chief, toward, near, around, against." Equivalent in sense to Latin circum-.ETD peri-.2

    perianth (n.)

    in botany, "envelope of a flower," 1706, from French périanthe, from Modern Latin perianthium (17c.), literally "that which is round the flower," from Greek peri "around, about" (see peri-) + Greek anthos "flower" (see anther). Related: Perianthal.ETD perianth (n.).2

    pericarditis (n.)

    "inflammation of the pericardium," 1799, from pericardium + -itis "inflammation."ETD pericarditis (n.).2

    pericardium (n.)

    "membranous sac which encloses the heart," early 15c., from Medieval Latin pericardium, Latinized form of Greek perikardion "(membrane) around the heart" (Galen), from peri (prep.) "around, about" (see peri-) + kardia "heart" (from PIE root *kerd- "heart"). Related: Pericardiac.ETD pericardium (n.).2


    Athenian statesman (c. 495-429 B.C.E.), leader of the city in its period of intellectual and material preeminence, from Latinized form of Greek Perikles, literally "far-famed," from peri "all around" (see peri-) + -kles "fame," a common ending in Greek proper names, related to kleos "rumor, report, news; good report, fame, glory," from PIE *klew-yo-, suffixed form of root *kleu- "to hear." Related: Periclean.ETD Pericles.2

    pericope (n.)

    "an extract, a selection from a book," especially "a passage of Scripture appointed to be read on certain occasions," 1650s, from Late Latin pericope "section of a book," from Greek perikopē "a section" of a book, literally "a cutting all round," from peri "around, about" (see peri-) + kopē "a cutting" (see hatchet).ETD pericope (n.).2

    peridot (n.)

    type of green gemstone, mid-14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French peridot, peritot (early 13c., Modern French péridot) and Medieval Latin peridotus, words of unknown origin.ETD peridot (n.).2

    perigee (n.)

    "point at which a celestial body is nearest the Earth," 1590s, from Modern Latin perigeum (15c.), from Late Greek peregeion, used by Ptolemy as a noun, properly neuter of adjective perigeios "near the earth," from peri ges, from peri "near" (see peri-) + ges, genitive of "earth" (see Gaia). Now only of the moon, formerly used also for the corresponding point in the orbit of any celestial body. Compare apogee.ETD perigee (n.).2

    perihelion (n.)

    "point at which a planet or comet is nearest the Sun," 1680s, coined in Modern Latin (perihelium) by Kepler (1596) from Latinizations of Greek peri "near" (see peri-) + hēlios "sun" (from PIE root *sawel- "the sun"). Subsequently re-Greeked.ETD perihelion (n.).2

    perilous (adj.)

    c. 1300, "full of danger; risky; involving exposure to death, destruction or injury," also "spiritually dangerous," from Old French perillos "perilous, dangerous" (Modern French périlleux), from Latin periculosus "dangerous, hazardous," from periculum "a danger, attempt, risk," with instrumentive suffix -culum and first element from PIE *peri-tlo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk." In Arthurian romances, the sege perilous (c. 1400) was the seat reserved for the knight who should achieve the quest of the Grail. Related: Perilously; perilousness.ETD perilous (adj.).2

    peril (n.)

    "danger, risk, hazard, jeopardy, exposure of person or property to injury, loss, or destruction," c. 1200, from Old French peril "danger, risk" (10c.), from Latin periculum "an attempt, trial, experiment; risk, danger," with instrumentive suffix -culum and first element from PIE *peri-tlo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk."ETD peril (n.).2

    perimeter (n.)

    early 15c., perimetre, "circumference, outer boundary, or border of a figure or surface," from Latin perimetros, from Greek perimetron "circumference," from peri "around, about" (see peri-) + metron "measure" (from PIE root *me- (2) "to measure"). Military sense of "boundary of a defended position" is attested by 1943. Related: Perimetric; perimetrical.ETD perimeter (n.).2

    perinatal (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to the period just before and just after birth (commonly reckoned at from 1 to 4 weeks before and after birth), 1952, from peri- + natal.ETD perinatal (adj.).2

    perineum (n.)

    also perinaeum, "the region of the body between the anus and the genital organs," early 15c., from Medieval Latin perinaeon, Late Latin perineum, from Greek perinaion, perinaios, in medical writing, "space between the anus and the scrotum," also, in plural, "male genitals," said to be from peri "near" (see peri-) + inan "to empty, carry off by evacuation," a word of unknown origin. Beekes says the notion is "the empty region," which would bring it near to the modern jocular name, taint. Related: Perineal.ETD perineum (n.).2

    periodicity (n.)

    "periodic character, tendency to recur at regular intervals of time," 1805, from French périodicité (1796), from périodique, from Late Latin periodicus "that returns at stated times" (see periodic).ETD periodicity (n.).2

    periodical (adj.)

    "performed or happening at regular or stated intervals," c. 1600, from periodic + -al (1). As a noun meaning "publication issued at regular intervals," it is attested from 1798. Related: Periodically.ETD periodical (adj.).2

    period (n.)

    early 15c., periode, "a course or extent of time; a cycle of recurrence of a disease," from Old French periode (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin periodus "recurring portion, cycle," from Latin periodus "a complete sentence," also "cycle of the Greek games," from Greek periodos "cycle, circuit, period of time," literally "a going around," from peri "around" (see peri-) + hodos "a going, traveling, journey; a way, path, road," a word of uncertain origin (see Exodus).ETD period (n.).2

    Sense of "repeated cycle of events" led to that of "interval of time." From 1712 as "an indefinite part of any continued state or series of events;" by 1727 as "time in which a circuit or revolution (as of a heavenly body) is made." Sense of "episode of menstruation" is by 1829, probably short for period of menstruation (1808), etc.ETD period (n.).3

    The meaning "dot marking end of a sentence" is recorded c. 1600, from the earlier sense of "a complete sentence, from one full stop to another," then "a full pause at the end of a sentence" (1580s). The educational sense of "portion of time set apart for a lesson" is from 1876. The sporting sense "division of a game or contest" is attested by 1898. As an adjective from 1905; period piece is attested from 1911.ETD period (n.).4

    periodic (adj.)

    "proceeding in a series of successive revolutions; pertaining to or of the nature of a cycle or period" 1640s, from French périodique (14c.), from Late Latin periodicus "that returns at stated intervals of time," from Latin periodus "recurring portion, cycle" (see period). From 1660s as "occurring at regular intervals of time."ETD periodic (adj.).2

    The periodic table in chemistry (1889) is so called for the arrangement, in which similar properties recur at intervals in elements in the same area as you read down the rows of the table. This sense of the word is attested from 1872 (periodic law).ETD periodic (adj.).3

    periodontics (n.)

    "the branch of dentistry concerned with the periodontal tissue and its disorders," 1948, from periodontia "periodontal membrane" (1914; see periodontal) + -ics. Periodontic (adj.) is attested by 1889.ETD periodontics (n.).2

    periodontal (adj.)

    "surrounding a tooth, pertaining to the lining membrane of the socket of a tooth," 1848, literally "around the tooth," from peri- "around" + Greek odon (genitive odontos) "tooth" (from PIE root *dent- "tooth").ETD periodontal (adj.).2

    periodontitis (n.)

    "periodontal disorder," 1842; see periodontal + -itis "inflammation;" though in this case inflammation often is not a feature of the disease.ETD periodontitis (n.).2

    periodontist (n.)

    "specialist or expert in periodontics," 1913; see periodontal + -ist.ETD periodontist (n.).2

    periodontium (n.)

    "periodontal membrane," 1828; see periodontal.ETD periodontium (n.).2

    periorbital (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to the orbit of the eye," 1838, from medical Latin periorbita, a hybrid from Greek peri "around, about, near" (see peri-) + Latin orbita (see orbit).ETD periorbital (adj.).2

    periosteum (n.)

    "the enveloping membrane of the bones," 1590s, from Modern Latin periosteum, Late Latin periosteon, from Greek periosteon, neuter of periosteos "round the bones," from peri "around, about" (see peri-) + osteon "bone" (from PIE root *ost- "bone"). Related: Periosteal.ETD periosteum (n.).2

    peripatetic (adj.)

    1560s in the philosophical sense, 1640s in the literal sense; see peripatetic (n.).ETD peripatetic (adj.).2

    peripatetic (n.)

    mid-15c., Peripatetik, "a disciple of Aristotle, one of the set of philosophers who followed the teachings of Aristotle," from Old French perypatetique (14c.) and directly from Medieval Latin peripateticus "pertaining to the disciples or philosophy of Aristotle," from Greek peripatētikos "given to walking about" (especially while teaching), from peripatein "walk up and down, walk about," from peri "around, about" (see peri-) + patein "to walk, tread" (see find (v.)). Aristotle's custom was to teach while strolling through the Lyceum in Athens.ETD peripatetic (n.).2

    In English, the philosophical meaning is older than that of "person who wanders about" (1610s). As an adjective, "walking about from place to place, itinerant," from 1640s, often with a tinge of humor. Related: Peripatetical.ETD peripatetic (n.).3

    peripeteia (n.)

    also peripetia, "that part of a drama in which the plot is tied together and the whole concludes, the denouement," 1590s, from Greek peripeteia "a turn right about; a sudden change" (of fortune, in a tragedy), from peri "around" (see peri-) + stem of piptein "to fall," from PIE *pi-pt-, reduplicated form of root *pet- "to rush; to fly."ETD peripeteia (n.).2

    peripheral (adj.)

    1803, "of, belonging to, or situated on the periphery," from periphery + -al (1). Earlier formations were peripherial (1670s); peripherical (1690s). Related: Peripherally. As a noun, peripherals, "peripheral devices of a computer," is by 1966.ETD peripheral (adj.).2

    periphery (n.)

    late 14c., periferie, "atmosphere around the earth," from Old French periferie (Modern French périphérie) and directly from Medieval Latin periferia, from Late Latin peripheria, from Greek peripheria "circumference, outer surface, line round a circular body," literally "a carrying around," from peripheres "rounded, moving round, revolving," peripherein "carry or move round," from peri "round about" (see peri-) + pherein "to carry," from PIE root *bher- (1) "to carry."ETD periphery (n.).2

    In geometry, the meaning "outside boundary of a closed figure," especially the circumference of a circle, is attested in English from 1570s; the general sense of "boundary, surface" is from 1660s.ETD periphery (n.).3

    periphrasis (n.)

    "roundabout way of speaking; an instance of this," 1530s, from Latin periphrasis "circumlocution," from Greek periphrasis, from periphrazein "speak in a roundabout way," from peri "around, about" (see peri-) + phrazein "to express" (see phrase (n.)).ETD periphrasis (n.).2

    periphrastic (adj.)

    "having the character of or characterized by periphrasis," 1750, from French périphrastique and directly from Greek periphrastikos, from periphrazein "to speak in a roundabout way" (see periphrasis). Related: Periphrastical (1630s); periphrastically (1660s).ETD periphrastic (adj.).2


    1934, in Ezra Pound: "periplum, not as land looks on a map / but as sea board seen by men sailing" [Canto LIX], or as Hugh Kenner described it, "The image of successive discoveries breaking upon the consciousness of the voyager ..., the voyage of discovery among facts, ... contrasted with the conventions and artificialities of the bird's-eye view afforded by the map," from accusative of Latin periplus, in classical use "a written list of the ports and coastal landmarks, in order, with approximate distances between, that a ship's captain could use to navigate a shore."ETD periplum.2

    From Greek periplous, contracted from periploos, literally "a sailing round," from peri (prep.) "around, about, beyond" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward") + ploos "a sailing, voyage, navigation," from plein "to navigate" (from PIE root *pleu- "to flow").ETD periplum.3

    Periscian (adj.)

    1590s, "of or pertaining to the Periscii," the inhabitants of the Polar circle in ancient Greek imagination, literally (those) "throwing a shadow all round," from peri "round about" (see peri-) + skia "shade, shadow" (see, and compare, Ascians). So called because their shadows would revolve around them during the course of a summer day, when the sun is always above the horizon there.ETD Periscian (adj.).2

    periscope (n.)

    viewing apparatus on a submarine, by which objects in a horizontal view may be seen through a vertical tube, 1899, formed in English from peri- "around" + -scope "instrument for viewing." Earlier (1865) a technical term in photography. Related: Periscopic.ETD periscope (n.).2

    perish (v.)

    late 13c., perishen, "to die, be killed, pass away; suffer spiritual death, be damned," from periss- present participle stem of Old French perir "perish, be lost, be shipwrecked" (12c.), from Latin perire "to be lost, perish," literally "to go through," from per "through, completely, to destruction" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + ire "to go" (from PIE root *ei- "to go").ETD perish (v.).2

    From mid-14c. of physical objects, "decay, come to destruction." In Middle English also transitive, "to destroy, to kill" (c. 1300). Related: Perished; perishing. Perisher is by 1888 as a term of contempt, originally "one who destroys," but it was sometimes used with an overtone of pity, as if "one likely to perish."ETD perish (v.).3

    perishable (adj.)

    late 15c., perysabyl, periscable, "subject to decay or destruction," from Old French périssable, and later (in modern form), 1610s, directly from perish + -able. As a noun, perishables, in reference to foodstuffs, is attested from 1895.ETD perishable (adj.).2

    peristalsis (n.)

    "involuntary muscular movements of hollow organs of the body," especially the alimentary canal, 1859, from Modern Latin peristalsis; see peristaltic.ETD peristalsis (n.).2

    peristaltic (adj.)

    "of or pertaining to the involuntary muscular movements of the hollow organs of the body," especially the alimentary canal, 1650s, from Modern Latin, from Greek peristaltikos (Galen), literally "contracting around," from peri "around, about" (see peri-) + stalsis "checking, constriction," related to stellein "draw in, bring together; set in order," from PIE *stel-yo-, suffixed form of root *stel- "to put, stand, put in order," with derivatives referring to a standing object or place.ETD peristaltic (adj.).2

    peristyle (n.)

    in architecture, "a range or ranges of columns surrounding any part or place," 1610s, from French péristyle "row of columns surrounding a building" (mid-16c.), from Latin peristylum, from Greek peristylon "colonnade around a temple or court," noun use of neuter of peristylos "surrounded with a colonnade," from peri- "around" (see peri-) + stylos "pillar," from PIE root *sta- "to stand, make or be firm."ETD peristyle (n.).2

    peritonitis (n.)

    "inflammation of the peritoneum," 1776, medical Latin, coined c. 1750 by French pathologist François-Boissier de la Croix de Sauvages (1706-1767) from Greek peritonos (from peritonaion; see peritoneum) + -itis "inflammation."ETD peritonitis (n.).2

    peritoneum (n.)

    "membrane lining the abdominal cavity," early 15c., from Late Latin peritonaeum, from Greek peritonaion "abdominal membrane," literally "part stretched over," noun use of neuter of peritonaios "stretched over," from peri "around" (see peri-) + teinein "to stretch," from PIE root *ten- "to stretch." Related: Peritoneal.ETD peritoneum (n.).2

    periwig (n.)

    "peruke, artificial imitation of a head of hair," worn as a fashionable accessory or as part of a professional costume, 1520s, perwyke, a popular corruption of perruck, from French perruque (see peruke), evidently by simulation of the French pronunciation and the influence of peri-.ETD periwig (n.).2

    periwinkle (n.2)

    kind of sea snail, 1520s, apparently an alteration of Old English pinewincle (probably by influence of Middle English parvink; see periwinkle (n.1)); from Old English pine-, which probably is from Latin pina "mussel," from Greek pine. The second element is wincel "corner; spiral shell," from Proto-Germanic *winkil-, from PIE root *weng- "to bend, curve" (see wink (v.)). But no Middle English forms have been found.ETD periwinkle (n.2).2

    periwinkle (n.1)

    trailing evergreen plant with starry flowers, c. 1500, from Middle English pervinkle (early 14c. as a surname), a diminutive of parvink, pervink (12c.), which is from Old English perwince, pervince, from Late Latin pervinca "periwinkle," which is perhaps from Latin pervincire "to entwine, bind," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + vincire "to bind, fetter" (see wind (v.1)). Altered by association with words in peri-. In Middle English it was figurative of beauty, also a paragon, but also evil.ETD periwinkle (n.1).2

    perjure (v.)

    mid-15c. "swear falsely" (implied in perjured; late 13c. in Anglo-French), from Old French parjurer "to break one's word, renege on a promise" (11c.), from Latin periurare "to swear falsely, break one's oath," from per "away, entirely" (see per) + iurare "to swear" (see jury (n.)). Reflexive sense, "make (oneself) guilty by testifying falsely" is from 18c.ETD perjure (v.).2

    perjury (n.)

    late 14c., perjurie, in law, "the act of swearing to a statement known to be false, willful utterance of false testimony under oath," via Anglo-French perjurie (late 13c.) and Old French parjure "perjury, false witness," both from Latin periurium "a false oath," from periurare "swear falsely," from per "away, entirely" (see per) + iurare "to swear" (see jury (n.)). Related: Perjurious.ETD perjury (n.).2

    perk (v.)

    late 14c., perken, "to make oneself trim or smart," perhaps literally "to perch on a tree," from Old North French perquer "to perch" (Modern French percher; see perch (n.1), and compare perk (n.1)), on notion of a bird preening its plumage. Sense of "raise briskly, hold up smartly" is attested from 1520s; perk up "recover liveliness" is from 1650s. Related: Perked; perking.ETD perk (v.).2

    perk (n.1)

    "horizontal bar serving as a support for various purposes," late 14c., "rod, pole, perch for a hawk," a variant of perch (n.1) or from Medieval Latin perca, Old French perce, variant of perche.ETD perk (n.1).2

    perk (n.2)

    1869, a shortened, colloquial form of perquisite (q.v.), also perq. As a verb, 1934 as a shortened and altered form of percolate, also perc.ETD perk (n.2).2

    perky (adj.)

    "neat, trim, smart," hence "pert, jaunty," 1820, from perk (v.) + -y (2). Used of young women's breasts at least since 1937. Related: Perkily; perkiness. The earlier adjective was perk (1570s).ETD perky (adj.).2

    perm (n.)

    in hairdressing, 1927, a shortened form of permanent wave (1909; see permanent). The verb is recorded by 1928. Related: Permed.ETD perm (n.).2

    permaculture (n.)

    "design based on systems simulating or utilizing patterns and features observed in natural ecosystems," by 1978, from permanent + -culture, in this case abstracted from agriculture.ETD permaculture (n.).2

    permafrost (n.)

    "subsoil frozen year-round, as in the Arctic regions," 1943, coined in English by Russian-born U.S. geologist Siemon W. Muller (1900-1970) from perm(anent) frost.ETD permafrost (n.).2

    permanent (adj.)

    "enduring, unchanging, unchanged, lasting or intended to last indefinitely," early 15c., from Old French permanent, parmanent (14c.) or directly from Latin permanentem (nominative permanens) "remaining," present participle of permanere "endure, hold out, continue, stay to the end," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + manere "stay" (from PIE root *men- (3) "to remain").ETD permanent (adj.).2

    Related: Permanently. As a noun meaning "permanent wave," by 1909. Of clothing, permanent press, in reference to a process designed to produce lasting creases in fabric," is attested from 1964.ETD permanent (adj.).3

    permanence (n.)

    "enduring presence or existence, continuance in the same condition or place," early 15c., from Old French parmanence and directly from Medieval Latin permanentia (early 14c.), from Latin permanens "remaining" (see permanent). Related: Permanency.ETD permanence (n.).2

    permeability (n.)

    "property or state of being permeable," 1733, from permeable + -ity, or else from French perméabilité.ETD permeability (n.).2

    permeable (adj.)

    early 15c., "passable" (of an area); "penetrable" (of a building)," from Late Latin permeabilis "that can be passed through, passable," from Latin permeare "to pass through, go over," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + meare "to pass," from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move." Meaning "capable of being passed through without rupture or displacement" is from 1773, especially of substances permitting the passage of fluids. Related: Permeably.ETD permeable (adj.).2

    permeant (adj.)

    "passing through," 1640s, from Latin permeantem (nominative permeans), present participle of permeare "to pass through" (see permeable).ETD permeant (adj.).2

    permeate (v.)

    "to pass into or through without rupture or displacement," 1650s, from Latin permeatus, past participle of permeare "to pass through," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + meare "to pass," from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move." Related: Permeated; permeating.ETD permeate (v.).2

    permeation (n.)

    "act of permeating; state of being permeated," 1620s, noun of action from Latin permeare "to pass through" (see permeate).ETD permeation (n.).2


    1841, "pertaining to the uppermost strata of the Paleozoic era," named by British geologist Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871) for the region of Perm in northwestern Russia, where Murchison had studied rocks from this epoch. His original definition of the rock system was somewhat broader in each direction, chronologically, than the current one.ETD Permian.2

    permissible (adj.)

    "allowable, proper to be allowed," early 15c., from Old French permissible (15c.) and directly from Medieval Latin permissibilis, from permiss-, past-participle stem of Latin permittere "let pass, let go; grant, permit" (see permit (v.)).ETD permissible (adj.).2

    permission (n.)

    "leave, sanction; the act of allowing," early 15c., permissioun, from Old French permission and directly from Latin permissionem (nominative permissio) "a giving up, a yielding; permission," noun of action from past-participle stem of permittere (see permit (v.)).ETD permission (n.).2

    permissive (adj.)

    c. 1600, "allowing to pass through," from Medieval Latin *permissivus, from Latin permiss-, past-participle stem of permittere "to let go, let pass, let loose" (see permit (v.)). In sense of "tolerant, liberal" it is attested by 1946; by 1966 it had definite overtones of sexual freedom. Earlier it meant "permitted, allowed" (mid-15c.). Related: Permissively; permissiveness.ETD permissive (adj.).2

    permit (v.)

    early 15c., permitten, transitive, "allow (something) to be done, suffer or allow to be," from Old French permetre and directly from Latin permittere "let pass, let go, let loose; give up, hand over; let, allow, grant, permit," from per "through" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + mittere "let go, send" (see mission). Meaning "grant liberty or leave" is from 16c. Related: Permitted; permitting.ETD permit (v.).2

    permit (n.)

    "written statement of permission or licence, written authority to do something," 1714, from permit (v.).ETD permit (n.).2

    permutation (n.)

    late 14c., permutacioun, "interchange, concurrent change; exchange of one thing, position, condition, etc., for another," from Old French permutacion "change, shift" (14c.), from Latin permutationem (nominative permutatio) "a change, alteration, revolution," noun of action from past participle stem of permutare "change thoroughly, exchange," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move"). The sense of "a linear arrangement of objects resulting from a change of their order" is by 1710, originally in mathematics.ETD permutation (n.).2

    permutate (v.)

    1898 in the modern sense of "change the order of" (earlier "to change, alter, 16c. but obsolete thereafter), from Latin permutatus, past participle of permutare "change thoroughly, exchange" (see permutation). "Probably regarded by those who use it as a back-formation from permutation" [OED]. Compare permute. Related: Permutated; permutating.ETD permutate (v.).2

    permute (v.)

    late 14c., permuten, "to change one for another, to interchange," from Old French permuter and directly from Latin permutare "to change thoroughly," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + mutare "to change" (from PIE root *mei- (1) "to change, go, move"). The mathematical sense is from 1878 (see permutation).ETD permute (v.).2

    pern (v.)

    "to move with a winding motion," a word used in poetry by Yeats from c. 1920, probably from a variant of dialectal pirn (n.) "small cylinder on which thread or yarn is wound (mid-15c.), which seems to have survived in dialects in Celtic parts of Britain. It is perhaps from prin "a twig, shoot of a tree" (c.1400), itself a variant of prene "a nail, spike," from Old English preon.ETD pern (v.).2

    pernicious (adj.)

    early 15c., of a deed, "evil, wicked;" from 1520s as "having the property of destroying or being injurious," from Old French pernicios (13c., Modern French pernicieux) and directly from Latin perniciosus "destructive," from pernicies "destruction, death, ruin," from per "completely" (see per) + necis "violent death, murder," related to necare "to kill," nocere "to hurt, injure, harm," noxa "harm, injury" (from PIE root *nek- (1) "death"). Related: Perniciously; perniciousness.ETD pernicious (adj.).2

    pernickety (adj.)

    1808 (pernicktie, in Jamieson), of persons, "precise; fastidious; fussily particular, especially about trifles," an extended form of Scottish pernicky, which is of uncertain origin, perhaps somehow from particular. "Association with the knick group of words ... may have been vaguely present" [OED].ETD pernickety (adj.).2

    peroration (n.)

    mid-15c., peroracioun, "a speech, an address," in rhetoric, "the concluding part of an address," involving an emphatic restatement of the principal points, from Latin perorationem (nominative peroratio) "the ending of a speech or argument of a case," from past-participle stem of perorare "argue a case to the end, bring a speech to a close," from per "to the end," hence "thoroughly, completely" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + ōrare "to speak, plead" (see orator).ETD peroration (n.).2

    perorate (v.)

    "to make a speech," especially a grandiloquent one, c. 1600, a colloquial back-formation from peroration (q.v.), or else from Latin peroratus, past participle of perorare. Related: Perorated; perorating.ETD perorate (v.).2

    peroxide (n.)

    the oxide of a given base which contains the greatest quantity of oxygen, 1804, formed in English by chemist Thomas Thomson (1773-1852) from per- "large amount" + oxide. Peroxide blonde "woman with peroxided hair" is attested from 1918 (hydrogen peroxide is an effective bleaching agent for hair).ETD peroxide (n.).2

    perp (n.)

    1940s American English police jargon shortening of perpetrator (as in perp walk).ETD perp (n.).2

    perpendicular (adj.)

    late 15c., perpendiculer, of a line, "lying at right angles to the horizon" (in astronomy, navigation, etc.), from an earlier adverb (late 14c.), "at right angles to the horizon," from Old French perpendiculer, from Late Latin perpendicularis "vertical, as a plumb line," from Latin perpendiculum "plumb line," from perpendere "balance carefully," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + pendere "to hang, cause to hang; weigh" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin").ETD perpendicular (adj.).2

    The meaning "perfectly vertical" is by 1590s. As a noun, "a line that meets another line or plane at right angles," from 1570s. The earlier noun was perpendicle (c. 1400). Related: Perpendicularly; perpendicularity.ETD perpendicular (adj.).3

    perpensity (n.)

    "consideration, a pondering, careful attention," 1704 (Swift), from Latin perpens-, past-participle stem of perpendere "to balance carefully" (see perpendicular) + -ity. Noted as obsolete by late 19c.ETD perpensity (n.).2

    perpetrate (v.)

    1540s, "to do, execute, perform," from Latin perpetratus, past participle of perpetrare "to perform, to accomplish," from per- "completely" + patrare "carry out," originally "bring into existence," from pater "father" (see father (n.)). Earlier in English was perpetren (mid-15c.), from Old French perpetrer, and perpetrate was an adjective meaning "committed" (late 15c.). Neither good nor bad in Latin, first used in English in statutes, hence its general bad sense of "to perform criminally." Related: Perpetrated; perpetrating.ETD perpetrate (v.).2

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