maybe; possibly: Perhaps the package will arrive today.

Origin of perhaps

1520–30; earlier perhappes, perhapis by haps. See per, hap1, -s1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for perhaps

Contemporary Examples of perhaps

Historical Examples of perhaps

  • In the course of this process he fell into adventures, some of them, perhaps, unedifying.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Perhaps you already know that Anaxagoras fell asleep in Ionia.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • Here, perhaps, may be found the symbolic clue to the strife's cause.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Perhaps my father might have put that in a bottle also at a later date.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Would he annoy her, enrage her perhaps, or even worse, tire her?

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

British Dictionary definitions for perhaps



  1. possibly; maybe
  2. (as sentence modifier)he'll arrive tomorrow, perhaps; perhaps you'll see him tomorrow

sentence substitute

it may happen, be so, etc; maybe

Word Origin for perhaps

C16 perhappes, from per by + happes chance, hap 1
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 perhaps

1520s, formed from Middle English per, par "by, through" (see per-) + plural of hap "chance" (see happen), on model of peradventure, perchance, etc. which now have been superseded by this word. Perhappons "possibly, by chance" is recorded from late 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper