[ per-sen-tahyl, -til ]
/ pərˈsɛn taɪl, -tɪl /


one of the values of a variable that divides the distribution of the variable into 100 groups having equal frequencies: Ninety percent of the values lie at or below the ninetieth percentile, ten percent above it.


of or relating to a percentile or a division of a distribution by percentiles.

Nearby words

  1. perceived noise decibel,
  2. percent,
  3. percent sign,
  4. percentage,
  5. percenter,
  6. percept,
  7. perceptible,
  8. perception,
  9. perceptive,
  10. perceptively

Origin of percentile

First recorded in 1880–85; percent + -ile

Can be confusedpercent percentage percentile (see usage note at percent) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for percentile

British Dictionary definitions for percentile


/ (pəˈsɛntaɪl) /


one of 99 actual or notional values of a variable dividing its distribution into 100 groups with equal frequencies; the 90th percentile is the value of a variable such that 90% of the relevant population is below that valueAlso called: centile
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

Word Origin and History for percentile



1885, coined by English scientist Francis Galton (1822-1911) from percent + -ile.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Science definitions for percentile


[ pər-sĕntīl′ ]

Any of the 100 equal parts into which the range of the values of a set of data can be divided in order to show the distribution of those values. The percentile of a given value is determined by the percentage of the values that are smaller than that value. For example, a test score that is higher than 95 percent of the other scores is in the 95th percentile.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.