percolation (n.) Look up percolation at
1610s, from Latin percolationem (nominative percolatio), noun of action from past participle stem of percolare "to strain through, filter," from per- "through" (see per) + colare "to strain," from colum "a strainer" (see colander).
percolator (n.) Look up percolator at
1795, agent noun in Latin form from percolate. Slang meaning "house party" is recorded from 1946.
percussion (n.) Look up percussion at
early 15c., "a striking, a blow; internal injury, contusion," from Latin percussionem (nominative percussio) "a beating, striking; a beat as a measure of time," noun of action from past participle stem of percutere "to strike hard, beat, smite; strike through and through," from per- "through" (see per) + quatere "to strike, shake" (see quash). Reference to musical instruments is first recorded 1776.
percussionist (n.) Look up percussionist at
"player of a percussion instrument," 1921, from percussion + -ist.
percussive (adj.) Look up percussive at
1735, from Latin percuss-, past participle stem of percutere (see percussion) + -ive.
percutaneous (adj.) Look up percutaneous at
1862, from Latin per cutem "through the skin" (see cuticle) + -ous. Related: Percutaneously.
perdition (n.) Look up perdition at
mid-14c., "fact of being lost or destroyed," from Old French perdicion "loss, calamity, perdition" of souls (11c.) and directly from Late Latin perditionem (nominative perditio) "ruin, destruction," noun of action from past participle stem of Latin perdere "do away with, destroy; lose, throw away, squander," from per- "through" (here perhaps with intensive or completive force, "to destruction") + dare "to put" (see date (n.1)). Special theological sense of "condition of damnation, spiritual ruin, state of souls in Hell" (late 14c.) has gradually extinguished the general use of the word.
perdurable (adj.) Look up perdurable at
mid-13c. (implied in perdurably), from Old French pardurable "eternal, everlasting, perpetual" (12c.), from Late Latin perdurabilis, from perdurare, from per-, intensive prefix, + durare "to endure" (see endure).
pere Look up pere at
1610s, "a French priest," from French père "father," from Latin patrem (nominative pater); see father (n.). Attached to a name, to distinguish father from son of the same name, from 1802.
peregrinate (v.) Look up peregrinate at
1590s, from Latin peregrinatus, past participle of peregrinari "to travel abroad, be alien," figuratively "to wander, roam, travel about," from peregrinus "foreign" (see peregrine).
peregrination (n.) Look up peregrination at
early 15c., from Old French peregrination "pilgrimage, long absence" (12c.) or directly from Latin peregrinationem (nominative peregrinatio) "a journey, a sojourn abroad," noun of action from past participle stem of peregrinari "to journey or travel abroad," figuratively "to roam about, wander," from peregrinus "from foreign parts, foreigner," from peregre (adv.) "abroad," properly "from abroad, found outside Roman territory," from per- (see per) + agri, locative of ager "field, territory, land, country" (see acre).
peregrine (n.) Look up peregrine at
also peregrin, type of falcon, 1550s, short for peregrine falcon (late 14c.), from Old French faulcon pelerin (mid-13c.), from Medieval Latin falco peregrinus, from Latin peregrinus "coming from foreign parts" (see peregrination). Sense may have been a bird "caught in transit," as opposed to one taken from the nest. Peregrine as an adjective in English meaning "not native, foreign" is attested from 1520s.
peremptory (adj.) Look up peremptory at
"decisive," mid-15c., legal term, from Anglo-French peremptorie, from Middle French peremtoire, from Latin peremptorius "destructive, decisive, final," from peremptor "destroyer," from perimpere "destroy, cut off," from per- "away entirely, to destruction" (see per) + emere "to take" (see exempt (adj.)). Of persons or their words, "certain, assured, brooking no debate," 1580s. Related: Peremptorily.
perennial (adj.) Look up perennial at
1640s, "evergreen," formed in English from Latin perennis "lasting through the year (or years)," from per- "through" (see per) + annus "year" (see annual). Botanical sense of "Remaining alive through a number of years" is attested from 1670s; figurative meaning of "enduring, permanent" is from 1750. Related: Perennially. For vowel change, see biennial. The noun meaning "a perennial plant" is from 1763.
perestroika (n.) Look up perestroika at
1981, from Russian perestroika, literally "rebuilding, reconstruction, reform" (of Soviet society, etc.), from pere- "re-" (from Old Russian pere- "around, again," from Proto-Slavic *per-, from PIE *per- (1) "forward, through;" see per) + stroika "building, construction," from Old Russian stroji "order," from PIE *stroi-, from root *stere- "to spread" (see structure (n.)). First proposed at the 26th Party Congress (1981); popularized in English 1985 during Mikhail Gorbachev's leadership of the U.S.S.R.
perfect (adj.) Look up perfect at
early 15c. alteration of Middle English parfit (c. 1300), from Old French parfit "finished, completed, ready" (11c.), from Latin perfectus "completed, excellent, accomplished, exquisite," past participle of perficere "accomplish, finish, complete," from per- "completely" (see per) + facere "to make, do, perform" (see factitious). Often used in English as an intensive (perfect stranger, etc.). Grammatical sense, in reference to verb tense, is from c. 1500. As a noun, late 14c. ("perfection"), from the adjective.
The difference between the Preterit and the Perfect is in English observed more strictly than in the other languages possessing corresponding tenses. The Preterit refers to some time in the past without telling anything about the connexion with the present moment, while the Perfect is a retrospective present, which connects a past occurrence with the present time, either as continued up to the present moment (inclusive time) or as having results or consequences bearing on the present moment. [Otto Jespersen, "Essentials of English Grammar," 1933]
perfect (v.) Look up perfect at
"to bring to full development," late 14c., parfiten, from perfect (adj.). Related: Perfected; perfecting.
perfecta (n.) Look up perfecta at
1971, from American Spanish perfecta, shortened from quiniela perfecta "perfect quiniela," a bet in horseracing (see quinella).
perfection (n.) Look up perfection at
early 13c., from Old French perfection "perfection, completeness" (12c.), from Latin perfectionem (nominative perfectio) "a finishing, compling, perfection," noun of action from past participle stem of perficere (see perfect (adj.)).
perfectionist (n.) Look up perfectionist at
1650s, from perfection + -ist. Originally theological, "one who believes moral perfection may be attained in earthly existence;" sense of "one satisfied only with the highest standards" is from 1934. Related: Perfectionism.
perfective (adj.) Look up perfective at
1590s, from Medieval Latin perfectivus, from Latin perfect-, past participle stem of perficere (see perfect (adj.)). Grammatical use is from 1844.
perfectly (adv.) Look up perfectly at
c. 1300, from perfect + -ly (2).
perfervid (adj.) Look up perfervid at
1830, as if from Latin *perfervidus, from per- "completely" (see per) + fervidus (see fervid). Related: Perfervidly.
perfidious (adj.) Look up perfidious at
1590s, from Latin perfidiosus "treacherous," from perfidia (see perfidy). Related: Perfidiously; perfidiousness.
perfidy (n.) Look up perfidy at
1590s, from Middle French perfidie (16c.), from Latin perfidia "faithlessness, falsehood, treachery," from perfidus "faithless," from phrase per fidem decipere "to deceive through trustingness," from per "through" (see per) + fidem (nominative fides) "faith" (see faith).
[C]ombinations of wickedness would overwhelm the world by the advantage which licentious principles afford, did not those who have long practiced perfidy grow faithless to each other. [Samuel Johnson, "Life of Waller"]
perforate (v.) Look up perforate at
late 15c. (implied in perforated), a back-formation from perforation or else from Latin perforatus, past participle of perforare "to bore through, pierce through." Related: Perforating.
perforation (n.) Look up perforation at
early 15c., "hole made through something;" mid-15c., "action of perforating," from Middle French perforation or directly from Late Latin perforationem (nominative perforatio), noun of action from past participle stem of Latin perforare "bore or pierce through," from per- "through" (see per) + forare "to pierce" (see bore (v.1)).
perforce (adv.) Look up perforce at
early 14c., par force, from Old French par force (12c.), literally "by force" (see force). With Latin per substituted 17c. for French cognate par.
perform (v.) Look up perform at
c. 1300, "carry into effect, fulfill, discharge," via Anglo-French performer, 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).

Theatrical/musical sense is 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.
performance (n.) Look up performance at
late a5c., "accomplishment" (of something), from perform + -ance. Meaning "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. Performance art is attested from 1971.
performative Look up performative at
1955, adjective and noun, coined by British philosopher of language J.L. Austin (1911-1960), from perform + -ive.
performer (n.) Look up performer at
1580s, agent noun from perform (v.). Theatrical sense is from 1711.
perfume (n.) Look up perfume at
1530s, "fumes from a burning substance," from Middle 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" (see per) + fumare "to smoke" (see fume (n.)). Meaning "fluid containing agreeable essences of flowers, etc.," is attested from 1540s.
perfume (v.) Look up perfume at
1530s, "to fill with smoke or vapor," from perfume (n.) or from Middle French parfumer. Meaning "to impart a sweet scent to" is from 1530s. Related: Perfumed; perfuming.
perfunctory (adj.) Look up perfunctory at
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" + fungi "perform" (see function (n.)). Related: Perfunctorily.
perfuse (v.) Look up perfuse at
1520s, from Latin perfusus, past participle of perfundere "to pour over, besprinkle," from per- + fundere (see found (v.2)).
perfusion (n.) Look up perfusion at
1570s, from Middle 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" (see per) + fundere "pour" (see found (v.2)).
pergola (n.) Look up pergola at
latticework structure for climbing plants, 1670s, from Italian pergola, from Latin pergula "school, lecture room; projecting roof, vine arbor," of uncertain origin; perhaps from pergere "to come forward."
perhaps (adv.) Look up perhaps at
1520s, formed from Middle English 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.
peri (n.) Look up peri at
1777, from Persian pari, from Avestan pairika. Race of superhuman female beings originally represented as malevolent, later as angelic genii (compare sense evolution of English fairy, to which it is not related).
peri- Look up peri- at
word-forming element meaning "around, about, enclosing," from Greek peri (prep.) "around, about, beyond," cognate with Sanskrit pari "around, about, through," Latin per, from PIE *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per-).
perianth (n.) Look up perianth at
"envelope of a flower," 1706, from French périanthe, from Modern Latin perianthium (17c.), literally "that which is round the flower," from peri- (see peri-) + Greek anthos "flower" (see anther).
pericarditis (n.) Look up pericarditis at
1799, from pericardium + -itis "inflammation."
pericardium (n.) Look up pericardium at
early 15c., Latinized form of Greek perikardion "(membrane) around the heart" (Galen), from peri (prep.) "around, about" (see peri-) + kardia "heart," from PIE root *kerd- (1) "heart" (see heart (n.)). Related: Pericardiac.
Pericles Look up Pericles at
Athenian statesman (c. 495-429 B.C.E.), from Greek Perikles, literally "far-famed," from peri "all around" (see peri-) + -kles "fame" (see Damocles). His leadership of Athens marks its intellectual and material zenith. Related: Periclean.
pericope (n.) Look up pericope at
1650s, from Late Latin pericope "section of a book," from Greek perikope "a section" of a book, literally "a cutting all round," from peri- "around" (see peri-) + kope "a cutting" (see hatchet).
peridot (n.) Look up peridot at
type of gemstone, mid-14c. (mid-13c. in Anglo-Latin), from Old French peritot (early 13c., Modern French péridot), of unknown origin.
perigee (n.) Look up perigee at
"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 ge "earth" (see Gaia).
perihelion (n.) Look up perihelion at
"point at which a celestial body is nearest the Sun," 1680s, coined in Modern Latin (perihelium) by Kepler (1596) from Latinizations of Greek peri "near" (see peri-) + helios "sun" (see sol). Subsequently re-Greeked.
peril (n.) Look up peril at
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" (source also of Latin experiri "to try;" Greek peria "trial, attempt, experience," empeiros "experienced;" Old Irish aire "vigilance;" Gothic ferja "watcher;" Old English fær "danger, calamity"). According to Watkins, this is "A verbal root belonging to the group of" *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per) via the notion of "to lead over, to press forward."