• synonyms


[per-sen-tahyl, -til]Statistics.
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  1. 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.
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  1. of or relating to a percentile or a division of a distribution by percentiles.
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Origin of percentile

First recorded in 1880–85; percent + -ile
Can be confusedpercent percentage percentile (see usage note at percent)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for percentile


  1. 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
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

percentile in Science


  1. 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.
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The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.