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[pur-pi-treyt] /ˈpɜr pɪˌtreɪt/
verb (used with object), perpetrated, perpetrating.
to commit:
to perpetrate a crime.
to present, execute, or do in a poor or tasteless manner:
Who perpetrated this so-called comedy?
Origin of perpetrate
1540-50; < Latin perpetrātus (past participle of perpetrāre to carry out, execute, perform), equivalent to per- per- + -petr- (combining form of patrāre to father, bring about; see pater) + -ā- theme vowel + -tus past participle suffix; see -ate1
Related forms
[pur-pi-truh-buh l] /ˈpɜr pɪ trə bəl/ (Show IPA),
perpetration, noun
perpetrator, noun
nonperpetration, noun
unperpetrated, adjective
Can be confused
perpetrate, perpetuate. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for perpetrate
Historical Examples
  • He must be rid of the fellow in some way—no eye must see him perpetrate the deed he had in mind.

    The Monster Men Edgar Rice Burroughs
  • "What a lot of folly they have allowed me to perpetrate," he muttered as he ran along.

  • Let me perpetrate one more,—one which is perhaps the most glaring of all.

  • It is at this point that we perpetrate one of our commonest blunders.

    A Handful of Stars Frank W. Boreham
  • Secondly, that you undertake to perpetrate no act of piracy while I am on board.

    The Pirate Slaver Harry Collingwood
  • Bid them do the deed that you are too cowardly to perpetrate yourself!

    Under the Rebel's Reign Charles Neufeld
  • In a word, what vice and crime does he perpetrate—what low acts does he commit?

    The Romany Rye George Borrow
  • But short of this, they can hardly be aware of the extent of the mischief they perpetrate.

  • Pollux, I repeat it, did not perpetrate the caricature, but a sculptor from Rome.

    The Emperor, Complete Georg Ebers
  • It was just possible that the ranchers might perpetrate some hostile act.

    Desert Conquest

    A. M. Chisholm
British Dictionary definitions for perpetrate


(transitive) to perform or be responsible for (a deception, crime, etc)
Derived Forms
perpetration, noun
perpetrator, noun
Usage note
Perpetrate and perpetuate are sometimes confused: he must answer for the crimes he has perpetrated (not perpetuated); the book helped to perpetuate (not perpetrate) some of the myths surrounding his early life
Word Origin
C16: from Latin perpetrāre, from per- (thoroughly) + patrāre to perform, perhaps from pater father, leader in the performance of sacred rites
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 perpetrate

1540s, from Latin perpetratus, past participle of perpetrare "to perform, to accomplish," from per- "completely" + patrare "carry out," originally "bring into existence," from pater "father" (see father (n.)). Earlier in English was perpetren, mid-15c., from Old French perpetrer. Neither good nor bad in Latin, first used in English in statutes, hence its sense of "to perform criminally." Related: Perpetrated; perpetrating.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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