Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

perhaps - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adverb     perhaps pronunciation in American English
Perhaps can be used in the following ways:
as a sentence adverb (making a comment on the whole sentence or clause): Perhaps we’ve met before.
as an ordinary adverb (before a number): He was perhaps 95.
  1. 1
    formal used for saying that you are not certain about something, or that something may or may not be true

    I wondered if perhaps he was sick.

    It is perhaps not a good idea for a seven-year-old to use a calculator.

    1. a.
      used when you are guessing a number or amount or are not certain about it

      There were perhaps a dozen women in the audience.

      Cook the potatoes until they are tender – perhaps 15 minutes.

  2. 2
    spoken used when you are making a suggestion, giving advice, or making a polite request

    Perhaps we could all go out for dinner sometime?

    You don’t look well – perhaps you should go to the doctor.

    Perhaps you can explain what went wrong?

  3. 3
    used for giving an opinion when you want to be polite and not seem too certain or definite

    His latest novel is perhaps his best.

    Perhaps it would be better for his party if he resigned.

  4. 4
    spoken used as a polite reply to someone when you do not completely agree with what they have said

    “I think he must have made a mistake.” “Yes, perhaps.”

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play