adjective Also peripheric (for defs 1–3).
pertaining to, situated in, or constituting the periphery: peripheral resistance on the outskirts of the battle area.
concerned with relatively minor, irrelevant, or superficial aspects of the subject in question.
Anatomy. near the surface or outside of; external.
Computers. of or relating to a peripheral.
Computers. a device or unit that operates separately from the CPU but is connected to it, as a magnetic disk or tape unit or a printer.
Origin of peripheral
1800–10; 1965–70 for def 4Related formspe·riph·er·al·ly, adverbun·pe·riph·er·al, adjectiveun·pe·riph·er·al·ly, adverb
; < Greek peripher(ḗs
) (see periphery
) + -al1
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
Related Words for peripheralincidental
Examples from the Web for peripheral
Contemporary Examples of peripheral
The play of Sunday, the play of being angels in the choir, is not just a peripheral secondary marginal realm of activity.
Because his new novel, The Peripheral, is his most dire yet.
Then I saw something in my peripheral vision, close to my back.
Every few weeks I get so far behind on sleep that I lose my peripheral vision.
They were a small and peripheral player, and now they want to be a main player—if not the main player.
Historical Examples of peripheral
Then the peripheral soul will return; and we have our safe, sane citizen again.
The process is, moreover, confined to peripheral manifestations.
If the wall of the hollow lens be rather thick, the difference in the shape of the central and peripheral pores is often striking.
Spongy disk lenticular, with an irregular, dense framework, in the centre darker than in the peripheral part.
With reference to the peripheral nerve-stems there is not much to be said.
British Dictionary definitions for peripheral
Derived Formsperipherally, adverb
not relating to the most important part of something; incidental, minor, or superficial
of, relating to, or of the nature of a periphery
anatomy of, relating to, or situated near the surface of the bodya peripheral nerve
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 peripheral
1803, from periphery + -al (1). An earlier formation was peripherial (1670s). Related: Peripherally. As a noun, peripherals, "peripheral devices of a computer," is from 1966.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Related to, located in, or constituting an outer boundary or periphery.
Perceived or perceiving near the outer edges of the retina.
Of or relating to the surface or outer part of a body or organ; external.
Of, relating to, or being part of the peripheral nervous system.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Anatomy Relating to or being the surface or outer part of a body or organ.
Relating to or being part of the peripheral nervous system.
Computer Science An auxiliary device, such as a printer or modem, distinct from a computer's central processing unit and working memory, and often connected externally.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Any part that is separate from a computer's CPU, such as a printer, a keyboard, or a monitor.
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.