[ puh-rif-uh-ree ]
See synonyms for periphery on
noun,plural pe·riph·er·ies.
  1. the external boundary of any surface or area.

  2. the external surface of a body.

  1. the edge or outskirts, as of a city or urban area.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

Other words for periphery

Opposites for periphery

Words Nearby periphery Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use periphery in a sentence

  • It is sometimes indented, with its convex side in contact with the periphery of the cell.

    A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis | James Campbell Todd
  • So the intervals will be equal in the directions both of the periphery and of the length.

  • There is something definable there, in the periphery of those ancient ruins.

    The Ghost Breaker | Charles Goddard
  • His eyes were still on the needles that kept creeping higher and higher along the calibrated periphery of the meters.

    Unwise Child | Gordon Randall Garrett
  • The centers of the crosses are occupied by the central hole of the whorl, while the arms extend to the periphery.

    The Swastika | Thomas Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for periphery


/ (pəˈrɪfərɪ) /

nounplural -eries
  1. the outermost boundary of an area

  2. the outside surface of something

  1. anatomy the surface or outermost part of the body or one of its organs or parts

Origin of periphery

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