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[puh-rif-uh-ree] /pəˈrɪf ə ri/
noun, plural peripheries.
the external boundary of any surface or area.
the external surface of a body.
the edge or outskirts, as of a city or urban area.
the relatively minor, irrelevant, or superficial aspects of the subject in question:
The preliminary research did not, of course, take me beyond the periphery of my problem.
Anatomy. the area in which nerves end.
Origin of periphery
1350-1400; < Late Latin peripherīa < Greek periphéreia circumference, literally, a bearing round, equivalent to peri- peri- + phér(ein) to bear1 + -eia -y3; replacing Middle English periferie < Medieval Latin periferīa, variant spelling of Late Latin peripherīa
1. circumference, perimeter.
1, 2. center. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for periphery
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • An angle in the periphery is an angle comprehended of two right lines inscribed, and jointly bounded or meeting in the periphery.

    The Way To Geometry Peter Ramus
  • So the intervals will be equal in the directions both of the periphery and of the length.

  • Consolidated Pemmican, once the center of my business existence, was now but a minor point on its periphery.

  • So a circle is a figure: Because it is a plaine every way bounded with one periphery.

    The Way To Geometry Peter Ramus
  • We officers were put in tents in a small palm and pomegranate thicket at the periphery of the hospital area.

    In Mesopotamia Martin Swayne
British Dictionary definitions for periphery


noun (pl) -eries
the outermost boundary of an area
the outside surface of something
(anatomy) the surface or outermost part of the body or one of its organs or parts
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin peripherīa, from Greek, from peri- + pherein to bear
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for periphery

late 14c., "atmosphere around the earth," from Old French periferie (Modern French périphérie), from Medieval Latin periferia, from Late Latin peripheria, from Greek peripheria "circumference, outer surface, line round a circular body," literally "a carrying around," from peripheres "rounded, moving round, revolving," peripherein "carry or move round," from peri- "round about" (see peri-) + pherein "to carry" (see infer). Meaning "outside boundary of a surface" attested in English from 1570s; general sense of "boundary" is from 1660s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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periphery in Medicine

periphery pe·riph·er·y (pə-rĭf'ə-rē)

  1. The outermost part or region within a precise boundary; the part away from center.

  2. The outer surface of a solid.

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