1585-95; < Frenchperigée < Neo-Latinperigēum, perigaeum < Greekperígeion (sēmeîon limit), neuter of perígeios near, of the earth, equivalent to peri-peri- + -geios, adj. derivative of gaîa, gê the earth
"point at which a celestial body is nearest the Earth," 1594, from Mod.L. perigeum (15c.), from Late Gk. peregeion, used by Ptolemy as a noun, properly neut. of adj. perigeios "near the earth," from peri ges, from peri "near" + ges, gen. of ge "earth."