Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To begin and carry through to completion; do: The surgeon performed the operation.
  • transitive v. To take action in accordance with the requirements of; fulfill: perform one's contractual obligations.
  • transitive v. To enact (a feat or role) before an audience.
  • transitive v. To give a public presentation of; present: My theater group performed a three-act play.
  • intransitive v. To carry on; function: a car that performs well on curves.
  • intransitive v. To fulfill an obligation or requirement; accomplish something as promised or expected.
  • intransitive v. To portray a role or demonstrate a skill before an audience: The juggler performed atop a unicycle.
  • intransitive v. To present a dramatic or musical work or other entertainment before an audience.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To do something; to execute.
  • v. To do something in front of an audience, often in order to entertain it.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To do, execute, or accomplish something; to acquit one's self in any business; esp., to represent sometimes by action; to act a part; to play on a musical instrument
  • transitive v. To carry through; to bring to completion; to achieve; to accomplish; to execute; to do.
  • transitive v. To discharge; to fulfill; to act up to
  • transitive v. To represent; to act; to play; as in drama.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To effect; execute; accomplish; achieve; carry on or out; do: as, to perform, an act of kindness or a deed of daring; to perform a day's labor; to perform an operation in surgery or in arithmetic.
  • To carry out or do whatever is demanded or required by (duty, a vow, etc.); execute the provisions, commands, or requirements of; put in execution; discharge; fulfil: as, to perform one's duty; to perform a vow; to perform a covenant.
  • To render; do.
  • To act or represent on or as on the stage: as, to perform the part of Hamlet.
  • To make up; constitute; complete.
  • To afford; furnish.
  • To sing, or render on a musical instrument.
  • To act; do or execute something.
  • To act a part; go through or complete any work; especially, to sing or play on a musical instrument, represent a character on the stage, etc.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. carry out or perform an action
  • v. give a performance (of something)
  • v. get (something) done
  • v. perform a function

Etymologies

Middle English performen, from Anglo-Norman performer, from Old French parfornir : par-, intensive pref. (from Latin per-, per-) + fournir, to furnish; see furnish.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle English performen, parfournen ("to perform"), from Anglo-Norman performer, parfourmer, alteration of Old French parfornir, parfurnir ("to complete, accomplish, perform"), from par- + fornir, furnir ("to accomplish, furnish"), from Frankish *frumjan (“to accomplish, furnish”), from Proto-Germanic *frumjanan, *framjanan (“to further, promote, accomplish, furnish, carry out”), from Proto-Indo-European *promo- (“in front, forth”), *per- (“forward, out”). Cognate with Old High German frummen ("to do, execute, accomplish, provide"), Old Saxon frummian ("to perform, promote"), Old English fremman ("to perform, execute, carry out, accomplish"), Gothic 𐍆𐍂𐌿𐌼𐌾𐌰𐌽 (frumjan, "to promote, accomplish"). See also frame, from. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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