noun, plural pe·ris.

one of a large group of beautiful, fairylike beings of Persian mythology, represented as descended from fallen angels and excluded from paradise until their penance is accomplished.
any lovely, graceful person.

Origin of peri

1770–80; < Persian perī, variant of parī fairy, Middle Persian parīk, Avestan pairikā witch




Ja·co·po [yah-kaw-paw] /ˈyɑ kɔ pɔ/, 1561–1633, Italian composer.


a prefix meaning “about” or “around” (perimeter, periscope), “enclosing” or “surrounding” (pericardium), and “near” (perigee, perihelion), appearing in loanwords from Greek (peripeteia); on this model, used in the formation of compound words (perimorph).

Origin of peri-

< Greek, prefixal use of perí (adv. and preposition) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for peri

spright, nymph, pixie, elf, fay, goblin

Examples from the Web for peri

Contemporary Examples of peri

Historical Examples of peri

  • Gulnare was represented by a girl with the body of a Peri and the soul of a poetess.

    Vivian Grey

    Earl of Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli

  • "I must congratulate you, Peri Banou," she said with sharp gayety.

    Miss Pat at School

    Pemberton Ginther

  • Joe heard her and Peri sing and both were admitted in the choir.

  • Peri, didn't the—the Fat Woman ever tell you to respect your elders?

  • Don't you remember the grand Oriental ballet of the "Bulbul and the Peri?"

    The Wolves and the Lamb

    William Makepeace Thackeray

British Dictionary definitions for peri


noun plural -ris

(in Persian folklore) one of a race of beautiful supernatural beings
any beautiful fairy-like creature

Word Origin for peri

C18: from Persian: fairy, from Avestan pairikā witch



enclosing, encircling, or aroundpericardium; pericarp; perigon
near or adjacentperihelion

Word Origin for peri-

from Greek peri around, near, about
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 peri

1777, from Persian pari, from Avestan pairika. Race of superhuman female beings originally represented as malevolent, later as angelic genii (cf. sense evolution of English fairy, to which it is not related).


word-forming element meaning "around, about, enclosing," from Greek peri (prep.) "around, about, beyond," cognate with Sanskrit pari "around, about, through," Latin per, from PIE *per- (1) "forward, through" (see per).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

peri in Medicine



Around; about; enclosing:perimysium.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

peri in Science


A prefix that means: “around” (as in pericardium,) or “near” (as in perihelion).
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.