[ per-fawrm ]
See synonyms for: performperformedperformingperforms on

verb (used with object)
  1. to carry out; execute; do: to perform miracles.

  2. to go through or execute in the proper, customary, or established manner: to perform the marriage ceremony.

  1. to carry into effect; fulfill: Perform what you promise.

  2. to enact (a play, part, etc.), as on the stage, in movies, or on television.

  3. to render (music), as by playing or singing.

  4. to accomplish (any action involving skill or ability), as before an audience: to perform a juggling act.

  5. to complete.

  6. to exhibit behaviors associated with (a particular social role or identity): This study investigates the ways in which biracial Americans perform race in their day-to-day lives.

  7. to behave in ways that exhibit (a socially acceptable belief, trait, or quality), often merely for show: Nineteenth-century British women found in the antislavery movement a perfect way to perform empathy.

verb (used without object)
  1. to fulfill a command, promise, or undertaking.

  2. to execute or do something.

  1. to act in a play: to perform in the role of Romeo.

  2. to perform music.

  3. to go through any performance.

  4. (of loans, investments, etc.) to yield a profit; earn income.

  5. to have sexual intercourse: I could not perform in my first intimate encounter with the love of my life.

Origin of perform

First recorded in 1250–1300; Middle English parformen, from Anglo-French parformer, alteration (by association with forme form) of Middle French, Old French parfournir “to accomplish”; see per-, furnish

synonym study For perform

1. Perform, discharge, execute, transact mean to carry to completion a prescribed course of action. Perform is the general word, often applied to ordinary activity as a more formal expression than do, but usually implying regular, methodical, or prolonged application or work: to perform an exacting task. Discharge implies carrying out an obligation, often a formal or legal one: to discharge one's duties as a citizen. Execute means either to carry out an order or to carry through a plan or program: to execute a maneuver. Transact, meaning to conduct or manage, has commercial connotations: to transact business.

Other words for perform

Other words from perform

  • per·form·a·ble, adjective
  • per·form·er, noun
  • mis·per·form, verb
  • o·ver·per·form, verb
  • re·per·form, verb (used with object)
  • self-per·formed, adjective
  • un·per·form·a·ble, adjective
  • un·per·formed, adjective
  • un·per·form·ing, adjective
  • well-per·formed, adjective

Words Nearby perform Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

How to use perform in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for perform


/ (pəˈfɔːm) /

  1. to carry out or do (an action)

  2. (tr) to fulfil or comply with: to perform someone's request

  1. to present or enact (a play, concert, etc) before or otherwise entertain an audience: the group performed Hamlet

  2. (intr) informal to accomplish sexual intercourse: he performed well

Origin of perform

C14: from Anglo-Norman perfourmer (influenced by forme form), from Old French parfournir, from par- per- + fournir to provide; see furnish

Derived forms of perform

  • performable, adjective
  • performer, noun

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