Definition of perhaps in English:

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Pronunciation: /pəˈhaps/


1Used to express uncertainty or possibility: perhaps I should have been frank with him
More example sentences
  • Extreme acceleration is definitely a possibility, and perhaps even inevitable.
  • But perhaps more than ever there are many moorland paths overgrown with the heather.
  • Any attempt to strive for a better life is likely to be viewed with scorn and perhaps even presented as dangerous.
maybe, for all I know, for all you know, it could be (that), it may be (that), it is possible (that), possibly, conceivably, feasibly;
Northern English  happen
literary peradventure, perchance, mayhap, haply
rare percase
1.1Used when one does not wish to be too definite or assertive in the expression of an opinion: perhaps not surprisingly, he was cautious about committing himself
More example sentences
  • He referred to the definition of a young person as perhaps being a bit broad.
  • However, it tends to be lax in dealing with matters that are perhaps a bit more important.
  • Ally that with a network of buses going to the hospital and perhaps a bit of the dreadful congestion might be eased.
1.2Used when making a polite request, offer, or suggestion: would you perhaps consent to act as our guide?
More example sentences
  • So I shall have a look at the tonics on offer and perhaps get her something to try and buck her up a bit.
  • I suggested that perhaps he needed to eat too and so the two of us went into the kitchen and had sandwiches together.
  • I suggest, perhaps, that he was grappling with the one thing we all had a sense of.


Late 15th century: from per + hap1.

  • This is an unusual hybrid of French and Old Norse words. The first half is French per ‘by’ from Latin per ‘by means of’. The second Middle English hap ‘chance, fortune’, which was adopted from Old Norse ( see happy). The final ‘s’ only appears about 1520.

Words that rhyme with perhaps

apse, collapse, craps, elapse, lapse, schnapps

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: per|haps

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