noun, plural pe·riph·er·ies.

the external boundary of any surface or area.
the external surface of a body.
the edge or outskirts, as of a city or urban area.
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.
Anatomy. the area in which nerves end.

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. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for peripheries

Historical Examples of peripheries

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

  • 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

the outermost boundary of an area
the outside surface of something
anatomy the surface or outermost part of the body or one of its organs or parts

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

peripheries in Medicine




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