adjective Philosophy, Linguistics.
  1. (of a speech act) producing an effect upon the listener, as in persuading, frightening, amusing, or causing the listener to act.

Origin of perlocutionary

First recorded in 1950–55; per- + locution + -ary
Related formsper·lo·cu·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for perlocution


  1. philosophy the effect that someone has by uttering certain words, such as frightening a personAlso called: perlocutionary act Compare illocution
Derived Formsperlocutionary, adjective

Word Origin for perlocution

C16 (in the obsolete sense: the action of speaking): from Medieval or New Latin perlocūtiō; see per-, locution
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