Meaning of PERFORM in English

per ‧ form S3 W2 /pəˈfɔːm $ pərˈfɔːrm/ BrE AmE verb

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ performance , ↑ performer ; verb : ↑ perform ; adjective : performing]

[ Date: 1300-1400 ; Language: Anglo-French ; Origin: performer , from Old French perfournir , from fournir 'to complete' ]

1 . [intransitive and transitive] to do something to entertain people, for example by acting a play or playing a piece of music:

Chenier and the band are performing at the Silver Palace tomorrow.

The children perform two plays each school year.

► Do not use perform to say what person an actor pretends to be in a play, film etc. Use play : John Wayne played (NOT performed) a Roman soldier in the film.

2 . [transitive] to do something, especially something difficult or useful SYN carry out :

Surgeons performed an emergency operation.

The official opening ceremony was performed by Princess Margaret.

perform a study/experiment/analysis etc

An analysis of the survey data was performed.

perform a task/job/duty

She was fired for not performing the duties outlined in her contract.

perform a function/role

software that performs a specific function

The leadership cannot be expected to perform miracles (=improve a situation in a way that seems impossible) .


In everyday English, people usually say that someone carries out an operation, a study etc rather than use perform :

The operation was carried out by a team of surgeons.

3 . perform well/badly etc

a) to work or do something well, badly etc ⇨ underperform :

Many religious schools perform well academically.

The team performed poorly on Saturday.

b) if a product, business etc performs well or badly, it makes a lot of money or very little money:

The economy is performing well.

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ nouns

▪ perform a task/job/duty etc

What skills do you need to perform this task?

▪ perform work

Over 6,000 people in our community of 100,000 perform volunteer work.

▪ perform an experiment/study etc

Part of the Chemistry exam involves performing an experiment.

▪ perform an operation

The surgeon who performed the operation said it had gone well.

▪ perform a ceremony

At 3 o'clock, the opening ceremony was performed by the Queen.

▪ perform a service

Our troops are performing a remarkable service and a terribly important mission.

▪ perform a function/role

The two organizations perform similar functions.

▪ perform an action

The children sing and perform the actions to nursery songs.

▪ perform miracles (=do things that seem impossible)

I'm prepared to work hard to get the job done but I can't perform miracles.

• • •


▪ do to do something – used in the following phrases: do your work/homework etc :

It usually takes me a couple of hours to do my homework.

| do the shopping/cooking/washing etc :

She’s gone to the supermarket to do the shopping.

| do a test/experiment/some research :

The doctor did some tests.


Fraser spent some time in Egypt doing some archaeological research.


Scientists are doing research on two types of vaccine.

| do a course :

Have you decided which course you want to do at university?

▪ make to do something – used in the following phrases: make a speech :

The Prince made a short speech.

| make a comment/suggestion/joke :

Can I make a suggestion?

| make a decision :

The committee will meet to make their final decision.

| make a mistake :

I think someone has made a mistake.

▪ give to do something – used in the following phrases: give a talk/speech/lecture :

They’ve asked him to give a talk.

| give a performance :

The band gave a brilliant performance.

▪ take to do something – used in the following phrases: take a test/exam :

Kate’s taking her driving test tomorrow.

| take a bath/shower :

I think I’ll go and take a shower.

| take a walk :

Normally, he took a walk in the evenings.

▪ commit to do something that is a crime, especially a serious crime: commit a crime :

The crime was committed in the early hours of the morning.

| commit a robbery/murder etc :

Dixon later admitted committing the robbery.

▪ carry out something to do something – used in the following phrases: carry out your work :

The violence is making it difficult for firefighters to carry out their work.

| carry out a task/duty :

He still managed to carry out his duties.

| carry out a survey/test/some research :

The hospital carries out research into skin diseases.

| carry out an operation :

The operation was carried out at a hospital in Paris.

| carry out a threat/promise :

They didn’t carry out their threat to kill the hostages.

| carry out sb’s orders/instructions/wishes :

I’m sure I can rely on you to carry out my instructions.

▪ perform to do something. Perform is more formal than carry out , and is used in the following phrases: perform a task/duty :

The job mostly involves performing administrative tasks.

| perform an operation :

A team of surgeons performed the operation.

▪ conduct to do something – used in the following phrases: conduct a survey/study/experiment :

They conducted a survey of approximately 2,000 people living in the area.

| conduct an inquiry/investigation :

The police are conducting an investigation into the cause of the fire.

| conduct an interview :

Knowing how to conduct a successful interview is a skill.

| conduct a campaign :

People were unimpressed by the way in which the election campaign was conducted.

▪ go about something to do your work or the things that you usually do, especially when something serious has happened: go about your work/business :

The next day she went about her business as if nothing had happened.

▪ get on with something spoken especially British English to start doing something that you should have started already or to continue doing something that you stopped doing for a short time:

I need to get on with my homework.

▪ be up to something spoken to be doing something that you think is probably bad, although you do not know exactly what it is:

I’m sure they’re up to something.


What’s Jake up to? He’s been upstairs in his room all day.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.