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See more synonyms for perk on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object)
  1. to become lively, cheerful, or vigorous, as after depression or sickness (usually followed by up): The patients all perked up when we played the piano for them.
  2. to act, or carry oneself, in a jaunty manner.
  3. to put oneself forward briskly or presumptuously.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to make smart, trim, or jaunty (sometimes followed by up or out): to perk up a suit with a new white blouse.
  2. to raise smartly or briskly (often followed by up or out): to perk one's head up.
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  1. perky; jaunty: a perk manner.
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Origin of perk1

1350–1400; Middle English perken; perhaps akin to peer2
Related formsperk·ing·ly, adverbperk·ish, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for perkish


  1. pert; brisk; lively
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  1. See perk up
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Word Origin

C16: see perk up


verb informal
  1. (intr) (of coffee) to percolate
  2. (tr) to percolate (coffee)
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  1. British informal short for perquisite
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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 perkish



late 14c., "to make oneself trim or smart," perhaps from Old North French perquer "to perch" (Modern French percher; see perch (n.1)), on notion of a bird preening its plumage. Sense of "raise oneself briskly" is first attested 1520s; perk up "recover liveliness" is from 1650s. Related: Perked; perking.

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1869, shortened and altered form of perquisite (q.v.); as a verb, 1934 as shortened and altered form of percolate.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper