[adjective, noun pur-fikt; verb per-fekt]


noun Grammar.

the perfect tense.
a verb form or construction in the perfect tense.Compare future perfect, pluperfect, present perfect.

verb (used with object)

Origin of perfect

1250–1300; < Latin perfectus, past participle of perficere to finish, bring to completion (per- per- + -fec-, combining form of facere to do1 + -tus past participle suffix); replacing Middle English parfit < Old French < Latin as above
Related formsper·fect·ed·ly, adverbper·fect·er, nounper·fect·ness, nounnon·per·fect·ed, adjectivequa·si-per·fect, adjectivequa·si-per·fect·ly, adverbself-per·fect·ing, adjectivesu·per·per·fect, adjectivesu·per·per·fect·ly, adverbun·per·fect, adjectiveun·per·fect·ed, adjective
Can be confusedperfect prefect

Synonyms for perfect

Synonym study

1, 2. See complete.

Usage note

A few usage guides still object to the use of comparison words such as more, most, nearly, almost, and rather with perfect on the grounds that perfect describes an absolute, yes-or-no condition that cannot logically be said to exist in varying degrees. The English language has never agreed to this limitation. Since its earliest use in the 13th century, perfect has, like almost all adjectives, been compared, first in the now obsolete forms perfecter and perfectest, and more recently with more, most, and similar comparison words: the most perfect arrangement of color and line imaginable. Perfect is compared in most of its general senses in all varieties of speech and writing. After all, one of the objectives of the writers of the U.S. Constitution was “to form a more perfect union.” See also complete, unique. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for perfectness

Contemporary Examples of perfectness

  • It takes Sharp four hours to get into character: “I take joy in the mathematical, symmetrical precision and perfectness of Bach.”

    The Daily Beast logo
    The Brit Who Stormed Broadway

    Tim Teeman

    December 7, 2014

Historical Examples of perfectness

  • What is common to them all,that perfectness and harmony, is beauty.


    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • But demuth signifies "a likeness," or "the perfectness of an image."

  • And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.


    J. W. Byers

  • We then say that the classic does not satisfy us, and that the "Grecian cloys us with his perfectness."

    The Sense of Beauty

    George Santayana

  • The tares must be taken away in order to the perfectness and usefulness of the wheat.

    Talks To Farmers

    Charles Haddon Spurgeon

British Dictionary definitions for perfectness


adjective (ˈpɜːfɪkt)

having all essential elements
unblemished; faultlessa perfect gemstone
correct or preciseperfect timing
utter or absolutea perfect stranger
excellent in all respectsa perfect day
maths exactly divisible into equal integral or polynomial roots36 is a perfect square
  1. (of flowers) having functional stamens and pistils
  2. (of plants) having all parts present
grammar denoting a tense of verbs used in describing an action that has been completed by the subject. In English this is a compound tense, formed with have or has plus the past participle
  1. of or relating to the intervals of the unison, fourth, fifth, and octave
  2. Also: full, final(of a cadence) ending on the tonic chord, giving a feeling of conclusionCompare imperfect (def. 6)
archaic positive certain, or assured

noun (ˈpɜːfɪkt)

  1. the perfect tense
  2. a verb in this tense

verb (pəˈfɛkt) (tr)

to make perfect; improve to one's satisfactionhe is in Paris to perfect his French
to make fully accomplished
printing to print the reverse side of (a printed sheet of paper)
Derived Formsperfectness, noun

Word Origin for perfect

C13: from Latin perfectus, from perficere to perform, from per through + facere to do


For most of its meanings, the adjective perfect describes an absolute state, i.e. one that cannot be qualified; thus something is either perfect or not perfect, and cannot be more perfect or less perfect. However when perfect means excellent in all respects, a comparative can be used with it without absurdity: the next day the weather was even more perfect
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 perfectness



early 15c. alteration of Middle English parfit (c.1300), from Old French parfit "finished, completed, ready" (11c.), from Latin perfectus "completed, excellent, accomplished, exquisite," past participle of perficere "accomplish, finish, complete," from per- "completely" (see per) + facere "to perform" (see factitious). Often used in English as an intensive (perfect stranger, etc.).



"to bring to full development," late 14c., parfiten, from perfect (adj.). Related: Perfected; perfecting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper