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[pur-kwuh-zit] /ˈpɜr kwə zɪt/
an incidental payment, benefit, privilege, or advantage over and above regular income, salary, or wages:
Among the president's perquisites were free use of a company car and paid membership in a country club.
a gratuity or tip.
something demanded or due as a particular privilege:
homage that was once the perquisite of royalty.
Origin of perquisite
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Medieval Latin perquīsītum something acquired, noun use of neuter of Latin perquīsītus (past participle of perquīrere to search everywhere for, inquire diligently). See per-, inquisitive
Can be confused
perquisite, prerequisite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for perquisite
Historical Examples
  • For every box of opium sold, the mate got a china dollar as a perquisite.

    Ned Myers James Fenimore Cooper
  • Well, dear one, I would be sure of it if they could only see the perquisite that goes along with me.

    St. Cuthbert's Robert E. Knowles
  • The other part we supposed she had claimed as her perquisite.

    In the Eastern Seas W.H.G. Kingston
  • Indeed I fancied he would be my perquisite, but there are plenty as good.

    Rienzi Edward Bulwer Lytton
  • Nevertheless, his satisfaction at the perquisite far exceeded his surprise.

    The Tiger Hunter Mayne Reid
  • They are handed over to the Ōdumpillai as a perquisite, and all the guests are fed.

  • And, when a door is fixed or beam raised, he receives his perquisite.

  • The bundle becomes the perquisite of the carpenter who has made the post.

  • It may have been given him by the king, or he may have taken it as a perquisite of his office.

  • And so it was done, and the cook had his perquisite, while I had the dog.

British Dictionary definitions for perquisite


an incidental benefit gained from a certain type of employment, such as the use of a company car
a customary benefit received in addition to a regular income
a customary tip
something expected or regarded as an exclusive right
Often (informal) shortened to perk
Word Origin
C15: from Medieval Latin perquīsītum an acquired possession, from Latin perquīrere to seek earnestly for something, from per- (thoroughly) + quaerere to ask for, seek
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 perquisite

mid-15c., "property acquired other than by inheritance," from Medieval Latin perquisitum "thing gained, profit," in classical Latin, "thing sought after," noun use of neuter past participle of perquirere "to seek, ask for," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + quærere "to seek" (see query (v.)). For Latin vowel change, see acquisition. General meaning "fee or profit on top of regular wages" first recorded 1560s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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