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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
  • They are supposed to be on the periphery, stacked up on the outskirts.
  • And keep your eyes on the whole area; there are some mighty fine works of signage on the periphery.
  • Both have existed for centuries on the periphery of human consciousness.
  • It's on the ramp's periphery that the miners blasted open veins of gold.
  • The city has indeed pushed the homeless to the city's less visible periphery.
  • They also can partly obscure pedestrians on the periphery in normal driving.
  • Fear focuses the mind the eliminates the periphery.
  • Finally, more makeup is stroked into the skin around the periphery of the face.
  • So we are skating at the periphery here and examining the exception rather than the norm.
  • They see it in the periphery of their vision and then they look at it for a split second and close their eyes.
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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