[ peer-ee-uhd ]
/ ˈpɪər i əd /
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noting, pertaining to, evocative of, imitating, or representing a historical period or the styles current during a specific period of history: period costumes; a period play.
(used by a speaker or writer to indicate that a decision is irrevocable or that a point is no longer discussable): I forbid you to go, period.


The Story Behind The Blood Drop Emoji

The blood drop emoji, also called the period emoji, has a very interesting origin story. Do you know who thought of the idea to create it?

Should you take this quiz on “shall” versus “should”? It should prove to be a quick challenge!
Question 1 of 6
Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of period

1375–1425; late Middle English periode (<Middle French ) <Medieval Latin periodus,Latin <Greek períodos circuit, period of time, period in rhetoric, literally, way around. See peri-, -ode2

synonym study for period

1. See age.


sub·pe·ri·od, noun


interval, period
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is a basic definition of period?

A period is a punctuation symbol that is used to end most sentences. A period is also a specified length of time or a length of time where something important happened or a trend occurred. Period has many other senses as a noun, an adjective, and an interjection.

A period is a major punctuation mark used in English that resembles a dot, like the dot at the end of this sentence. A period is used to end any sentence that isn’t a question (which uses a question mark) or an exclamation (which uses an exclamation point) or that trails off using an ellipsis. Periods are also used in abbreviations, such as Mrs. or Dr.

Real-life examples: This sentence ends in a period. This sentence also ends in a period. Most of the sentences you read, such as this one, end in periods.

Used in a sentence: In English, we use periods to end most sentences. 

The word period is also used to refer to a length of time where something important happened or was defined by something memorable.

Real-life examples: A person may experience a period of illness. A business may go through a period where it didn’t make much money. For most people, the teenage years are a rebellious period of their life.

Used in a sentence: Stores always experience a period of increased business during the holidays. 

The word period can also be used to refer to any designated length of time.

Used in a sentence: He likes to read books about the Medieval period. 

The word period can refer to a length of time where some distinctive phenomena or trend happened.

Real-life example: The Renaissance period of European history had a distinct trend of creativity in art and culture.

Used in a sentence: She is an expert in literature from the Victorian period.

Where does period come from?

The first records of the term period come from around 1375. It ultimately comes from the Greek períodos, meaning “a circuit” or “a period of time.”

Period also refers to an instance of menstruation.

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What are some other forms related to period?

  • subperiod (noun)

What are some synonyms for period?

What are some words that share a root or word element with period

What are some words that often get used in discussing period?

How is period used in real life?

Period is a very common word that often refers to lengths of time.



Try using period!

Which of the following sentences ends in a period?

A. What time is it?
B. I am a good listener.
C. Look at that!
D. It is too quiet here …

How to use period in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for period

/ (ˈpɪərɪəd) /


Word Origin for period

C14 peryod, from Latin periodus, from Greek periodos circuit, from peri- + hodos way
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

Medical definitions for period

[ pîrē-əd ]

An interval of time characterized by the occurrence of a certain condition, event, or phenomenon.
One of the stages of a disease.
A menstrual period.
A sequence of elements arranged in order of increasing atomic number.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for period

[ pĭrē-əd ]

A division of geologic time that is longer than an epoch and shorter than an era.
The duration of one cycle of a regularly recurring action or event. See also cycle frequency.
An occurrence of menstruation.
In the Periodic Table, any of the seven horizontal rows that contain elements arranged in order of increasing atomic number. All the elements in a particular period have the same number of electron shells in their atoms, equal to the number of the period. Thus, atoms of nickel, copper, and zinc, in period four, each have four electron shells. See Periodic Table.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for period


A punctuation mark (.) that ends a declarative sentence. A period is also used in abbreviations such as Mr. and Dr.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.