• synonyms


noun, plural pe·riph·er·ies.
  1. the external boundary of any surface or area.
  2. the external surface of a body.
  3. the edge or outskirts, as of a city or urban area.
  4. the relatively minor, irrelevant, or superficial aspects of the subject in question: The preliminary research did not, of course, take me beyond the periphery of my problem.
  5. Anatomy. the area in which nerves end.
Show More

Origin of periphery

1350–1400; < Late Latin peripherīa < Greek periphéreia circumference, literally, a bearing round, equivalent to peri- peri- + phér(ein) to bear1 + -eia -y3; replacing Middle English periferie < Medieval Latin periferīa, variant spelling of Late Latin peripherīa

Synonyms for periphery

Antonyms for periphery

1, 2. center.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for peripheries

perimeter, fringe, rim, brink, verge, ambit, circuit, covering, margin, circumference, skirt, outside, edge, brim, compass, hem, boundary, border

Examples from the Web for peripheries

Historical Examples of peripheries

  • The fusees are fixed obliquely and not tangentially to their peripheries.

    A Dictionary of Arts, Manufactures and Mines

    Andrew Ure

  • When we feel a weakening at the center we feel a horror in the peripheries.

    Behind the Mirrors

    Clinton W. Gilbert

  • Then upon the ends y, and u, at the distances ou, and ys; let two peripheries meet in the point r.

  • For let the circles agree, and then shall equall inscripts and peripheries agree.

  • The angles in the center or periphery of equall circles, are as the Peripheries are upon which they doe insist: And contrariwise.

British Dictionary definitions for peripheries


noun plural -eries
  1. the outermost boundary of an area
  2. the outside surface of something
  3. anatomy the surface or outermost part of the body or one of its organs or parts
Show More

Word Origin for periphery

C16: from Late Latin peripherīa, from Greek, from peri- + pherein to bear
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 peripheries



late 14c., "atmosphere around the earth," from Old French periferie (Modern French périphérie), from Medieval Latin periferia, from Late Latin peripheria, from Greek peripheria "circumference, outer surface, line round a circular body," literally "a carrying around," from peripheres "rounded, moving round, revolving," peripherein "carry or move round," from peri- "round about" (see peri-) + pherein "to carry" (see infer). Meaning "outside boundary of a surface" attested in English from 1570s; general sense of "boundary" is from 1660s.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

peripheries in Medicine


  1. The outermost part or region within a precise boundary; the part away from center.
  2. The outer surface of a solid.
Show More
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.