percent

or per cent

[ per-sent ]
/ pərˈsɛnt /

noun

Also called per centum. one one-hundredth part; 1/100.
British. stocks, bonds, etc., that bear an indicated rate of interest.

adjective

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: %

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Origin of percent

1560–70; short for Medieval Latin per centum by the hundred. See per, cent

usage note for percent

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.

OTHER WORDS FROM percent

per·cent·al, adjective

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH percent

percent percentage percentile (see usage note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for per cent

per cent
/ (pə ˈsɛnt) /

adverb

Also: per centum in or for every hundredSymbol: %

noun Also: per'cent

a percentage or proportion
(often plural) securities yielding a rate of interest as specifiedhe bought three percents

Word Origin for per cent

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

Scientific definitions for per cent

percent

One part in a hundred. For example, 62 percent (also written 62%) means 62 parts out of 100.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for per cent

percent

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.