[pur; unstressed per]
for each; for every: Membership costs ten dollars per year. This cloth is two dollars per yard.
by means of; by; through: I am sending the recipe per messenger.
according to; in accordance with: I delivered the box per your instructions.
Informal. each; for each one: The charge for window-washing was five dollars per.

1580–90; < Latin: through, by, for, for each. See for

per, purr (see usage note at the current entry).

Per for a or an or for each occurs chiefly in technical or statistical contexts: miles per gallon; work-hours per week; feet per second; gallons of beer per person per year. It is also common in sports commentary: He averaged 16 points per quarter. Per is sometimes criticized in business writing in the sense “according to” and is rare in literary writing. Unabridged


a prefix meaning “through,” “thoroughly,” “utterly,” “very”: pervert; pervade; perfect.
Chemistry. a prefix used in the names of inorganic acids and their salts that possess the maximum amount of the element specified in the base word: percarbonic (H 2 C 2 O 5 ), permanganic (HMnO 4 ), persulfuric (H 2 S 2 O 8 ), acids; potassium permanganate (KMnO 4 ); potassium persulfate (K 2 S 2 O 8 ).

< Latin, combining form of per per, and used as an intensive


per. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
per (pɜː, (unstressed) pə)
1.  for every: three pence per pound
2.  (esp in some Latin phrases) by; through
3.  as per according to: as per specifications
4.  informal as per usual as usual
[C15: from Latin: by, for each]

abbreviation for
Professional Employment Register

1.  through: pervade
2.  throughout: perennial
3.  away, beyond: perfidy
4.  completely, throughly: perplex
5.  (intensifier): perfervid
6.  indicating that a chemical compound contains a high proportion of a specified element: peroxide; perchloride
7.  indicating that a chemical element is in a higher than usual state of oxidation: permanganate; perchlorate
8.  (not in technical usage) a variant of peroxy- : persulphuric acid
[from Latin per through]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

1588 (earlier in various L. and Fr. phrases), from L. per "through, during, by means of, on account of, as in," from PIE base *per- "through, across, beyond" (cf. Skt. pari "around, about, through," O.Pers. pariy, Gk. peri "around, about, beyond," O.C.S. pre-, Rus. pere- "through," Lith. per "through,"
O.Ir. air- Goth. fair-, Ger. ver- O.E. fer-, intensive prefixes).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

per- pref.

  1. Thoroughly; completely; intensely: perfuse.

  2. Containing an element in its highest oxidation state: perchloric acid.

  3. Containing a large or the largest possible proportion of an element: peroxide.

  4. Containing the peroxy group: peracid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Computing Dictionary

PER definition

1. Packed Encoding Rules.
2. partial equivalence relation.

The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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American Heritage
Abbreviations & Acronyms
Perseus (constellation)
  1. period

  2. person

The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Example sentences
The system prints about thirty characters per second, which means it takes less than a minute per double-spaced page.
Selling past copies of examination papers-a few cents per student per exam.
Oxygen costs and requirements vary per climb and per climber.
Water levels are falling at an average rate of three feet per year.
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