percale (n.) Look up percale at
1620s, name of a fabric imported from the East; in modern use, 1840, from French percale, perhaps ultimately from Persian pargalah "a rag."
perceivable (adj.) Look up perceivable at
late 15c., from Old French percevable, from perçoivre (see perceive). Related: Perceivably.
perceive (v.) Look up perceive at
c. 1300, via Anglo-French parceif, Old North French *perceivre (Old French perçoivre) "perceive, notice, see; recognize, understand," from Latin percipere "obtain, gather, seize entirely, take possession of," also, figuratively, "to grasp with the mind, learn, comprehend," literally "to take entirely," from per "thoroughly" (see per) + capere "to grasp, take" (see capable).

Replaced Old English ongietan. Both the Latin senses were in Old French, though the primary sense of Modern French percevoir is literal, "to receive, collect" (rents, taxes, etc.), while English uses the word almost always in the metaphorical sense. Related: Perceived; perceiving.
percent Look up percent at
1560s, per cent, from Modern Latin per centum "by the hundred" (see per and hundred). Until early 20c. often treated as an abbreviation and punctuated accordingly.
percentage (n.) Look up percentage at
1789, from percent + -age. Sense of "profit, advantage" is from 1862.
percentile (n.) Look up percentile at
1885, coined by English scientist Francis Galton (1822-1911) from percent + -ile.
percept (n.) Look up percept at
1837, from Latin perceptum "(a thing) perceived," noun use of neuter past participle of percipere (see perceive). Formed on model of concept.
perceptible (adj.) Look up perceptible at
early 15c., "perceptive," from Late Latin perceptibilis "perceptible," from Latin percept-, past participle stem of percipere (see perceive). Meaning "capable of being perceived" is from c. 1600. Related: Perceptibly; perceptibility.
perception (n.) Look up perception at
late 14c., "receiving, collection," from Latin perceptionem (nominative perceptio) "perception, apprehension, a taking," from percipere "perceive" (see perceive). First used in the more literal sense of the Latin word; in secondary sense, "the taking cognizance of," it is recorded in English from 1610s. Meaning "intuitive or direct recognition of some innate quality" is from 1827.
perceptive (adj.) Look up perceptive at
1650s, from Latin percept-, past participle stem of percipere (see perceive) + -ive. In reference to intelligence from 1860. From mid-15c. as the name of a type of optical instrument. Related: Perceptively; perceptiveness.
perceptual (adj.) Look up perceptual at
1852; see percept + -al (1). Related: Perceptually.
perch (n.1) Look up perch at
"where a bird rests," late 13c., originally only "a pole, rod, stick, stake," from Old French perche "unit of linear measurement" (5.5 yards), also "measuring rod, pole, bar" used to measure this length (13c.), from Latin pertica "pole, long staff, measuring rod," related to Oscan perek "pole," Umbrian perkaf "twigs, rods." Meaning "a bar fixed horizontally for a hawk or tame bird to rest on" is attested from late 14c.; this led to general sense of "any thing that any bird alights or rests on" (late 15c.). Figurative sense of "an elevated or secure position" is recorded from 1520s. The "land-measuring rod" sense also was in Middle English (c. 1200), hence surviving meaning "measure of land equal to a square lineal perch" (usually 160 to the acre), mid-15c.
perch (n.2) Look up perch at
"spiny-finned freshwater fish," c. 1300, from Old French perche, from Latin perca "perch," from Greek perke "a perch," from PIE root *perk- "speckled, spotted" (cognates: Sanskrit prsnih "speckled, variegated;" Greek perknos "dark-colored," perkazein "to become dark"), typically in names of animals.
perch (v.) Look up perch at
"to roost," late 14c., from Old French perchier "to sit on a perch" (of a bird), from perche (n.) (see perch (n.1)). Related: Perched; perching.
perchance (adv.) Look up perchance at
mid-14c., parchaunce, from Old French par cheance, literally "by chance." With Latin per substituted c. 1400 for French cognate par.
Percheron (n.) Look up Percheron at
1875, from French Percheron, adjective formed from le Perche, region south of Normandy where horses were bred that were strong, light, and fast.
percipience (n.) Look up percipience at
c. 1770, from percipient + -ence.
percipient (adj.) Look up percipient at
1690s, from Latin percipientem, present participle of percipere (see perceive). Earlier in English as a noun, "one who perceives" (1660s).
Percocet Look up Percocet at
by 1991, a North American brand name for oxycodone/acetaminophen.
percolate (v.) Look up percolate at
1620s, a back-formation from percolation, or else from Latin percolatus, past participle of percolare "to strain through." Figurative sense by 1670s. Related: Percolated; percolating.
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.).
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.