per cent

percent

[per-sent]
noun
1.
Also called one one-hundredth part; 1/100.
2.
percentage ( defs 1, 3 ).
3.
British. stocks, bonds, etc., that bear an indicated rate of interest.
4.
figured or expressed on the basis of a rate or proportion per hundred (used in combination with a number in expressing rates of interest, proportions, etc.): to get three percent interest. Symbol: %
Also, per cent.

Origin:
1560–70; short for Medieval Latin per centum by the hundred. See per, cent

percent, percentage, percentile (see usage note at the current entry).

Percent is from the Latin adverbial phrase per centum meaning “by the hundred.” The Latin phrase entered English in the 16th century. Later, it was abbreviated per cent. with a final period. Eventually, the period was dropped and the two parts merged to produce the modern one-word form percent. The two-word form per cent is still used occasionally, but its use is diminishing. The percent sign (%) is used chiefly in scientific, tabular, or statistical material and only with numerals preceding it: 58%; a range of 30% to 40%.
In the senses “rate or proportion per hundred” and “proportion in general” percent and percentage are frequently interchangeable. With a preceding number, only percent occurs (a 16 percent decline); with no preceding number, either occurs, but percentage is much more common: a certain percentage (or percent) of the land.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
 per cent (pə ˈsɛnt) —adv 1. Also: per centum, % in or for every hundred —n 2. a percentage or proportion 3. (often plural) securities yielding a rate of interest as specified: he bought three percents [C16: from Medieval Latin per centum out of every hundred]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

percent
1568, per cent, from Mod.L. per centum "by the hundred" (see per and hundred). Until early 20c. often treated as an abbreviation and punctuated accordingly. Percentage is first recorded 1789; sense of "profit, advantage" is from 1862; percentile is from 1889.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
 percent also per cent   (pər-sěnt')  Pronunciation Key  One part in a hundred. For example, 62 percent (also written 62%) means 62 parts out of 100.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
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American Heritage
Cultural Dictionary

percent definition

A fraction expressed as a number of hundredths. Twelve percent of a quantity, for example, is twelve one-hundredths of it. Twelve percent may also be written 12%.

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition