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or per cent

[per-sent] /pərˈsɛnt/
Also called per centum. one one-hundredth part; 1/100.
percentage (defs 1, 3).
British. stocks, bonds, etc., that bear an indicated rate of interest.
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: %.
Origin of percent
1560-70; short for Medieval Latin per centum by the hundred. See per, cent
Related forms
percental, adjective
Can be confused
percent, percentage, percentile (see usage note at the current entry)
Usage note
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. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for per cent

per cent

/pə ˈsɛnt/
Also per centum. in or for every hundred %
a percentage or proportion
(often pl) securities yielding a rate of interest as specified: he bought three percents
Word Origin
C16: from Medieval Latin per centum out of every hundred
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 per cent


1560s, per cent, from Modern Latin per centum "by the hundred" (see per and hundred). Until early 20c. often treated as an abbreviation and punctuated accordingly.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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per cent in Science
percent also per cent
One part in a hundred. For example, 62 percent (also written 62%) means 62 parts out of 100.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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per cent in Culture

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 New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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