See more synonyms for perm on
verb (used with object)
  1. to give (the hair) a permanent.
verb (used without object)
  1. to apply a permanent to the hair.

Origin of perm

First recorded in 1925–30; by shortening


[purm, pairm; Russian pyerm]
  1. a city in the E Russian Federation in Europe, on the Kama River.
Formerly Molotov. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for perm

permanent, perm

Examples from the Web for perm

Contemporary Examples of perm

Historical Examples of perm

  • I was compelled to return to Perm and inform Rasputin of the result of my investigations.

    The Minister of Evil

    William Le Queux

  • In Perm Foma purchased for her different new things and what-not.

    Foma Gordyeff

    Maxim Gorky

  • Up this the vessel steamed for three days and then reached Perm.

    Condemned as a Nihilist

    George Alfred Henty

  • The upper series is named the Permian, from the province of Perm in Russia.

    The Elements of Geology

    William Harmon Norton

  • The Bashkirs of Orenburg deeply indent the southern part of Perm.

    The Ethnology of Europe

    Robert Gordon Latham

British Dictionary definitions for perm


  1. a hairstyle produced by treatment with heat, chemicals, etc which gives long-lasting waves, curls, or other shapingAlso called (esp formerly): permanent wave
  2. the act of giving or receiving such a hairstyle
  1. (tr) to give a perm to (hair)


  1. short for permutation (def. 4)


  1. a port in W Russia, on the Kama River: oil refinery; university (1916). Pop: 984 000 (2005 est)Former name (1940–62): Molotov
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 perm

1927, shortened form of permanent wave (1909). The verb is first recorded 1928.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper