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[peer-ee] /ˈpɪər i/
noun, plural peris.
one of a large group of beautiful, fairylike beings of Persian mythology, represented as descended from fallen angels and excluded from paradise until their penance is accomplished.
any lovely, graceful person.
Origin of peri
1770-80; < Persian perī, variant of parī fairy, Middle Persian parīk, Avestan pairikā witch


[pe-ree] /ˈpɛ ri/
[yah-kaw-paw] /ˈyɑ kɔ pɔ/ (Show IPA),
1561–1633, Italian composer.


a prefix meaning “about” or “around” (perimeter, periscope), “enclosing” or “surrounding” (pericardium), and “near” (perigee, perihelion), appearing in loanwords from Greek (peripeteia); on this model, used in the formation of compound words (perimorph).
< Greek, prefixal use of perí (adv. and preposition) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for peri
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Gulnare was represented by a girl with the body of a peri and the soul of a poetess.

    Vivian Grey Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli
  • "I must congratulate you, peri Banou," she said with sharp gayety.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther
  • Joe heard her and peri sing and both were admitted in the choir.

    Pearl and Periwinkle Anna Graetz
  • peri, didn't the—the Fat Woman ever tell you to respect your elders?

    Pearl and Periwinkle Anna Graetz
  • Don't you remember the grand Oriental ballet of the "Bulbul and the peri?"

    The Wolves and the Lamb William Makepeace Thackeray
  • She looked as fair and fragile as a peri, and as free from mortal cares.

    The Bishop's Secret

    Fergus Hume
  • Bartja had no share in the corruption of that fiend in peri's form.

  • In one a peri rides on a camel compounded of men and beasts.

    Beast and Man in India

    John Lockwood Kipling
British Dictionary definitions for peri


noun (pl) -ris
(in Persian folklore) one of a race of beautiful supernatural beings
any beautiful fairy-like creature
Word Origin
C18: from Persian: fairy, from Avestan pairikā witch


enclosing, encircling, or around: pericardium, pericarp, perigon
near or adjacent: perihelion
Word Origin
from Greek peri around, near, about
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 peri

1777, from Persian pari, from Avestan pairika. Race of superhuman female beings originally represented as malevolent, later as angelic genii (cf. sense evolution of English fairy, to which it is not related).


word-forming element meaning "around, about, enclosing," from Greek peri (prep.) "around, about, beyond," cognate with Sanskrit pari "around, about, through," Latin per, from PIE *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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peri in Medicine

peri- pref.

  1. Around; about; enclosing: perimysium.

  2. Near: perinatal.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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peri in Science
A prefix that means: "around" (as in pericardium,) or "near" (as in perihelion).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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