Meaning of PERIOD in English

I. ˈpirēəd, ˈpēr- noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English pariode, from Middle French periode, from Medieval Latin, Latin, & Greek; Medieval Latin periodus period of time, punctuation mark, from Latin & Greek; Latin, rhetorical period, from Greek periodos way around, circuit, period of time, rhetorical period, from peri- + hodos way, journey — more at cede


a. obsolete : customary or ordained length of existence : lifetime

make plants more lasting than their ordinary period — Francis Bacon

b. : the half-life of a radioactive element


a. : an utterance from one full stop to another : sentence ; especially : a well-proportioned sentence of several clauses

rounded periods

stately periods

b. : periodic sentence

c. : a musical structure or melodic section usually of eight or sixteen measures and of two or more contrasting or complementary phrases and ending with a cadence


a. : the full pause with which the utterance of a sentence closes

b. : a point of time marking a termination of a course or an action : end , stop , cessation

progress … towards the perfection of nature without arriving at a period in it — S.F.Mason

worries, together with … disease put a period to his honorable life — C.G.Bowers


a. obsolete : final outcome : consummation

b. obsolete : the goal of an action or a journey

c. obsolete : a particular point in a progress : moment , occasion

d. obsolete : the highest point : culmination

e. : peroration

to hear the admiral's period to the piece — Lee Rogow


a. : a point . used to mark the end of a declarative sentence, the end of an abbreviation (as Eng., Mr. ), or the end of a paragraph heading or outline heading — often used interjectionally at the end of a statement to indicate and emphasize that the statement is finished and complete without further qualification or discussion

private profit by public servants at the expense of the general welfare is corrupt, period — Estes Kefauver

conclusion that we fought the war to win, period — H.W.Baldwin

not just unlucky in love, but unlucky, period

b. : a division of time in a rhythmic series : a temporal unit of measure ; specifically : a rhythmical unit in Greek verse composed of a series of two or more cola

6. : the completion of a cycle, a series of events, or a single action : conclusion

certain cheeses … serve as a brilliant period for a gay, well-ordered meal — This Week Magazine


a. : a portion of time determined by some recurring phenomenon : a division of time in which something is completed and ready to commence and go on in the same order

period of the earth's orbit

period of a flashing beacon

b. : the interval of time required for a cyclic motion or phenomenon to complete a cycle and begin to repeat itself

the period of a pendulum

period of an alternating current

being equal to one divided by the frequency

c. : a single cyclic occurrence of menstruation — called also menstrual period


a. : a chronological division (as of a life, a development) : stage

period of infancy

period of preparation and training

period of incubation of a disease

b. : an extent of time that is an epoch or era in the history of civilization

the Reformation period

art in the Victorian period

furniture of the Empire period

c. : a time often of indefinite length but of distinctive or specified character : spell

period of laziness

periods of anxiety

a period of wet weather

periods of rising prices

d. : a division of geologic time longer than an epoch and included in an era

e. : a stage of culture having a definable place in time and space ; specifically : the length of time a pottery style is maintained in a certain area

9. : a number k that does not change the value of a periodic function f when added to the independent variable: f(x+k).f(x) ; especially : the smallest such number

10. : a sequence of elements of increasing atomic numbers as represented usually in horizontal rows in the periodic table from one inert gas to the next and that may be short (as from helium through fluorine or from neon through chlorine) or long (as from argon through bromine)


a. : one of the divisions of the academic day : the time appointed for a recitation or lecture or for study, physical training, luncheon, assembly, or other activity : a class hour

b. : one of the portions usually of equal duration into which the playing time of a game (as hockey, polo) is divided


epoch , era , age , aeon : period , the most general of these terms, can designate any extent of time

a period of a few seconds

the period of five thousand years prior to recorded history

epoch often designates the beginning of a period, especially a striking or remarkable beginning

this is an epoch … the end and the beginning of an age — H.G.Wells

but more often designates a period set off by some significant or striking quality, event, or series of related events

an epoch in the annals of printing — Encyc. Americana

the Renaissance epoch — G.C.Sellery

era , often interchangeable with epoch in its more frequent meaning, is a period, usually of history, marked by some new or characterizable order of things

the Victorian era

the Christian era

an era of singular crisis and upheaval — J.W.Aldridge

age , usually interchangeable with but possibly more definite than era , is used frequently of a period dominated by a central figure or clearly marked feature

the atomic age

the age of Shakespeare

the age of Reason

aeon is an immeasurable or indefinitely long period

Mars is a planet which has rusted away, its oxygen having been used up aeons ago — J.G.Vaeth

the hour of waiting seemed an aeon to the impatient child

II. adjective

1. : relating or belonging to an historical period : deriving from or fashioned after the style prevalent in a particular period

period furniture

period costume

2. : representing realistically a particular historical period ; especially : depending largely on evocation of a period for effect

period play

period novel

an amusing period study of manners — Time

period film

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.