From Middle English performen, parfournen (“to perform”), from Anglo-Norman performer, parfourmer, alteration of Old French parfornir, parfurnir (“to complete, accomplish, perform”), from par- + fornir, furnir (“to accomplish, furnish”), from Frankish *frummjan (“to accomplish, furnish”), from Proto-Germanic *frumjaną, *framjaną (“to further, promote”), from Proto-Indo-European *promo- (“in front, forth”), *per- (“forward, out”). Cognate with Old High German frummen (“to do, execute, accomplish, provide”), Old Saxon frummian (“to perform, promote”), Old English fremman (“to perform, execute, carry out, accomplish”), Gothic 𐍆𐍂𐌿𐌼𐌾𐌰𐌽 (frumjan, “to promote, accomplish”). See also frame, from.
perform (third-person singular simple present performs, present participle performing, simple past and past participle performed)
- (transitive) To do (something); to execute.
The scientists performed several experiments.
It took him only twenty minutes to perform the task.
2013 July-August, Lee S. Langston, “The Adaptable Gas Turbine”, in American Scientist:
Turbines have been around for a long time—windmills and water wheels are early examples. The name comes from the Latin turbo, meaning vortex, and thus the defining property of a turbine is that a fluid or gas turns the blades of a rotor, which is attached to a shaft that can perform useful work.
- (intransitive) To exhibit an expected pattern of behavior; to function; to work.
The new employee performs well.
2003, “P.I.M.P.”, in Get Rich or Die Tryin', performed by 50 Cent:
I could care less how she perform when she in the bed
- (law) To act in a way set forth in a contract.
- (transitive) To act in accordance with (a contract); to fulfill one’s terms of (a contract).
- (intransitive) To fulfill contractually agreed-to terms.
They entered into an agreement and now they are obliged to perform.
- (transitive, intransitive) To do (something) in front of an audience, such as acting or music, often in order to entertain.
She will perform in the play.
The magician performed badly—none of his tricks worked.
The string quartet performed three pieces by Haydn.
c. 1608–1609 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Coriolanus”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene ii]:
Perform a part thou hast not done before.
- (by extension, transitive) To behave theatrically so as to give the impression of (a quality, character trait, etc.); to feign.
The accused only performed remorse.
2021, David Edgerton, “The one good thing to come out of Brexit: a bonfire of national illusions”, in The Guardian:
As things now stand, Brexit is a pointless gesture, a politics of headlines in which sovereignty is performed by bleating world-beating absurdities.
- (social sciences) Of a social actor, to behave in certain ways.
- (transitive) To behave in accordance with, and thereby in turn shape, (a social notion or role).
2022 September 9, Sophie Gilbert, “No One Performed Britishness Better Than Her Majesty”, in The Atlantic:
Even before her seven decades as monarch began, she performed Britishness more intuitively than anyone ever had, or likely ever will again.
- (intransitive) To behave in ways that carry meaning in social contexts.
Individuals in societies perform all the time.
to do (something)
- Albanian: byr (sq)
- Arabic: أَدَّى (ʔaddā)
- Bulgarian: извършвам (bg) (izvǎršvam)
- Catalan: realitzar (ca)
- Mandarin: 執行／执行 (zh) (zhíxíng), 進行／进行 (zh) (jìnxíng), 實行／实行 (zh) (shíxíng)
- Czech: provést (cs) pf
- Danish: udføre
- Dutch: verrichten (nl), uitvoeren (nl), houden (nl), presteren (nl)
- Finnish: suorittaa (fi), tehdä (fi)
- French: exécuter (fr) (task), effectuer (fr) (calculation), faire (fr) (calculation), accomplir (fr) (miracle, promise)
- Galician: realizar (gl)
- German: durchführen (experiment), ausführen (task), verrichten (de), vollführen (de) (body movement), vollbringen (de) (miracle)
- Gothic: 𐍅𐌰𐌿𐍂𐌺𐌾𐌰𐌽 (waurkjan)
- Ido: exekutar (io)
- Italian: eseguire (it)
- Japanese: 実行する (ja) (じっこうする, jikkō suru)
- Korean: 실행하다 (ko) (silhaenghada), 수행하다 (ko) (suhaenghada)
- Latin: fungor (la)
- Nepali: गर्नु (ne) (garnu)
- Ngazidja Comorian: udjimiza
- Norwegian: utføre (no)
- Old English: drēogan, æfnan
- Old Saxon: fremmian, frummian, gifrummian
- Polish: wykonywać (pl) impf, wykonać (pl) pf
- Portuguese: realizar (pt), fazer (pt), levar a cabo
- Russian: выполня́ть (ru) impf (vypolnjátʹ), вы́полнить (ru) pf (výpolnitʹ); проводи́ть (ru) impf (provodítʹ), провести́ (ru) pf (provestí)
- Scottish Gaelic: cuir an gnìomh
- Sicilian: fari (scn), rializzari, effittuari, esicutari
- Spanish: hacer (es), realizar (es), efectuar (es), ejecutar (es), llevar a cabo (es)
- Swahili: kushika (sw)
- Swedish: utföra (sv)
- Ukrainian: вико́нувати impf (vykónuvaty), ви́конати pf (výkonaty)
to exhibit an expected pattern of behavior
(law) to act in accordance with
(law) to fulfill contractually agreed-to terms
to do something in front of an audience
- Bulgarian: изпълня́вам (bg) (izpǎlnjávam), предста́вям (bg) (predstávjam)
- Catalan: actuar (ca), representar (ca), interpretar (ca)
- Mandarin: 表演 (zh) (biǎoyǎn), 演出 (zh) (yǎnchū)
- Dutch: opvoeren (nl)
- Finnish: esittää (fi)
- French: jouer (fr) (actor), danser (fr) (dancer), chanter (fr) (singer), interpréter (fr)
- German: aufführen (de), spielen (de), auftreten (de)
- Italian: recitare (it)
- Japanese: 演奏する (ja) (えんそうする, ensō suru)
- Polish: wykonać (pl)
- Portuguese: interpretar (pt)
- Russian: выступа́ть (ru) impf (vystupátʹ), вы́ступить (ru) pf (výstupitʹ); исполня́ть (ru) (ispolnjátʹ), испо́лнить (ru) (ispólnitʹ); выполня́ть (ru) impf (vypolnjátʹ), вы́полнить (ru) pf (výpolnitʹ) a trick; игра́ть (ru) impf (igrátʹ), сыгра́ть (ru) pf (sygrátʹ)
- Scottish Gaelic: gabh
- Spanish: actuar (es) (actor), cantar (es) (singer), danzar (es) (dancer), ejecutar (es) (musician), interpretar (es) (musician)
- Swedish: uppträda (sv)
- Telugu: ప్రదర్శించు (te) (pradarśiñcu)
- Vietnamese: biểu diễn (vi)
to behave theatrically, to feign
(social sciences) to behave in accordance with
(social sciences) to behave in ways that carry meaning
- “perform”, in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, Springfield, Mass.: G. & C. Merriam, 1913, →OCLC.
- “perform”, in The Century Dictionary […], New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911, →OCLC.
- perform at OneLook Dictionary Search