verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

Origin of perform

1250–1300; Middle English parformen < Anglo-French parformer, alteration (by association with forme form) of Middle French, Old French parfournir to accomplish. See per-, furnish
Related formsper·form·a·ble, adjectiveper·form·er, nounmis·per·form, verbo·ver·per·form, verbre·per·form, verb (used with object)self-per·formed, adjectiveun·per·form·a·ble, adjectiveun·per·formed, adjectiveun·per·form·ing, adjectivewell-per·formed, adjective

Synonym study

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.

Synonyms for perform Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for performer

Contemporary Examples of performer

Historical Examples of performer

  • Then the entire audience shouted one name, demanded one performer only.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • That you are, and a performer far more wonderful than Marsyas.

  • When the performer lifts his head he ceases counting, so does the confederate.


    W. W. Baggally

  • There was never any difficulty in starting the performer off.


    Joseph Conrad

  • The listener feels as if he were a performer; the performer is an enraptured listener.

    The Gypsies

    Charles G. Leland

British Dictionary definitions for performer



to carry out or do (an action)
(tr) to fulfil or comply withto perform someone's request
to present or enact (a play, concert, etc) before or otherwise entertain an audiencethe group performed Hamlet
(intr) informal to accomplish sexual intercoursehe performed well
Derived Formsperformable, adjectiveperformer, noun

Word Origin for perform

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

1580s, agent noun from perform (v.). Theatrical sense is from 1711.



c.1300, "carry into effect, fulfill, discharge," via Anglo-French performer, altered (by influence of Old French forme "form") from Old French parfornir "to do, carry out, finish, accomplish," from par- "completely" (see per-) + fornir "to provide" (see furnish).

Theatrical/musical sense is from c.1600. The verb was used with wider senses in Middle English than now, including "to make, construct; produce, bring about;" also "come true" (of dreams), and to performen muche time was "to live long." Related: Performed; performing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper