See more synonyms for perch on
  1. a pole or rod, usually horizontal, serving as a roost for birds.
  2. any place or object, as a sill, fence, branch, or twig, for a bird, animal, or person to alight or rest upon.
  3. a high or elevated position, resting place, or the like.
  4. a small, elevated seat for the driver of any of certain vehicles.
  5. a pole connecting the fore and hind running parts of a spring carriage or other vehicle.
  6. a post set up as a navigational aid on a navigational hazard or on a buoy.
  7. British.
    1. a linear or square rod.
    2. a measure of volume for stone, about 24 cubic feet (0.7 cubic meters).
  8. Textiles. an apparatus consisting of two vertical posts and a horizontal roller, used for inspecting cloth after it leaves the loom.
  9. Obsolete. any pole, rod, or the like.
verb (used without object)
  1. to alight or rest upon a perch.
  2. to settle or rest in some elevated position, as if on a perch.
verb (used with object)
  1. to set or place on or as if on a perch.
  2. to inspect (cloth) for defects and blemishes after it has been taken from the loom and placed upon a perch.

Origin of perch

1250–1300; Middle English perche < Old French < Latin pertica pole, staff, measuring rod
Related formsperch·a·ble, adjectiveun·perched, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for perched

alight, squat, land, light, rest, settle, balance, roost

Examples from the Web for perched

Contemporary Examples of perched

Historical Examples of perched

  • Linda perched the hat on her head, pulled it down securely, and faced Katy.

    Her Father's Daughter

    Gene Stratton-Porter

  • There was a copy of Romeo and Juliet perched on top of a pile of books.

    The Foolish Lovers

    St. John G. Ervine

  • There ahead of him, perched on the cliff, at the foot of which the river flowed, was the sanitarium.

  • We two, perched on the haystack, did not take the words at all with a kindly meaning.

    Adventures and Recollections

    Bill o'th' Hoylus End

  • Mrs. Bascom perched on one of the lower steps of the iron stairs.

    The Woman-Haters

    Joseph C. Lincoln

British Dictionary definitions for perched


  1. a pole, branch, or other resting place above ground on which a bird roosts or alights
  2. a similar resting place for a person or thing
  3. another name for rod (def. 7)
  4. a solid measure for stone, usually taken as 198 inches by 18 inches by 12 inches
  5. a pole joining the front and rear axles of a carriage
  6. a frame on which cloth is placed for inspection
  7. obsolete, or dialect a pole
  1. (usually foll by on) to alight, rest, or cause to rest on or as if on a perchthe bird perched on the branch; the cap was perched on his head
  2. (tr) to inspect (cloth) on a perch
Derived Formspercher, noun

Word Origin for perch

C13 perche stake, from Old French, from Latin pertica long staff


noun plural perch or perches
  1. any freshwater spiny-finned teleost fish of the family Percidae, esp those of the genus Perca, such as P. fluviatilis of Europe and P. flavescens (yellow perch) of North America: valued as food and game fishes
  2. any of various similar or related fishes
Related formsRelated adjective: percoid

Word Origin for perch

C13: from Old French perche, from Latin perca, from Greek perkē; compare Greek perkos spotted
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 perched



"where a bird rests," late 13c., originally only "a pole, rod, stick, stake," from Old French perche "unit of linear measurement" (5.5 yards), also "measuring rod, pole, bar" used to measure this length (13c.), from Latin pertica "pole, long staff, measuring rod," related to Oscan perek "pole," Umbrian perkaf "twigs, rods." Meaning "a bar fixed horizontally for a hawk or tame bird to rest on" is attested from late 14c.; this led to general sense of "any thing that any bird alights or rests on" (late 15c.). Figurative sense of "an elevated or secure position" is recorded from 1520s. The "land-measuring rod" sense also was in Middle English (c.1200), hence surviving meaning "measure of land equal to a square lineal perch" (usually 160 to the acre), mid-15c.



"spiny-finned freshwater fish," c.1300, from Old French perche, from Latin perca "perch," from Greek perke "a perch," from PIE root *perk- "speckled, spotted" (cf. Sanskrit prsnih "speckled, variegated;" Greek perknos "dark-colored," perkazein "to become dark"), typically in names of animals.



"to roost," late 14c., from Old French perchier "to sit on a perch" (of a bird), from perche (n.) (see perch (n.1)). Related: Perched; perching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper