Did you know?

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

period - 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.



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.

noun [countable] period pronunciation in American English /ˈpɪriəd/
Word Forms
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    an amount of time during which something happens

    The long dry period ended with torrential rain.

    period of:

    A decision has to be made within a period of three months.

    period of time:

    They reached these conclusions in a relatively short period of time.

    1. a.
      a particular amount of time in history

      Their collection is confined solely to the Roman period.

    2. b.
      a particular part of someone’s life or career

      This is described as the artist’s angry period.

    3. c.
      a division in a school day when a particular subject is taught

      They have another period of science this afternoon.

      math period

  2. 2
    American a mark used in writing and printing to show where a sentence ends. The British word is full stop.
    1. a.
      spoken used for emphasis to show that there is no more to be said about something

      Marriage is about a life-long commitment, period.

  3. 3
    the time about once a month when a woman who is not pregnant menstruates (=loses blood)

    I realized I might be pregnant when I missed my period.

Open Dictionary


the activity of exploring abandoned buildings and other manmade structures

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