Definitions

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

  • adv. Maybe; possibly.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Modifies a verb, indicating a lack of certainty.
  • adv. By chance.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. By chance; peradventure; perchance; it may be.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • It may be; possibly; peradventure; perchance.

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

  • adv. by chance

Etymologies

From Middle English perhap : per, by (from Latin; see per) + hap, chance; see hap.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Alteration (via plural -s or adverbial -s) of earlier perhap, equivalent to per +‎ hap (“chance, coincidence”). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • I will leave you, Sir, I will fly; there will be enough other children to comfort you in your old age, since my mother lays three times a year; I will go far away and hide my misery from you, and perhaps, ” I added sobbing, “perhaps I shall find, in our neighbor’s garden or in the gutters, some worms or spiders wherewith to support my sad existence.

    Chapter I

  • Here is my duty to Altamaha plain before me; perhaps they ’ll let me help settle the Negro problems there, —perhaps they won’t.

    XIII. Of the Coming of John.

  • “I might perhaps go to Leipsic while you are in Constance, -- _perhaps_.”

    A Woman's Will

  • That action completely disarms us and perhaps -- I only say _perhaps_ -- justifies you, in a measure, in the stupendous demand which you are now making.

    The Cruise of the Nonsuch Buccaneer

  • Perhaps they were worshipers of the Sun; and perhaps, amid all their misery, oh, _perhaps, _ some ray of truth from the great Father of Lights may have streamed into those darkened souls!

    The Story of John G. Paton Or Thirty Years Among South Sea Cannibals

  • 'that a man of my order -- sincerity, perhaps genius [in the Journal a private note is here inserted, "not _perhaps_"], is not employed.

    Little Memoirs of the Nineteenth Century

  • But perhaps -- _perhaps_ -- I shall let you off lightly if you tell us where the Banshee lives. "

    David and the Phoenix

  • And perhaps it would have been a good fing; _perhaps_ Grandmamma would have told Cook not to send up quite so much, and ---- "

    Us An Old Fashioned Story

  • Overseas aidThe indefatigable Scottish though born in Brighton full-back Russell Martin is called the Norfolk Cafu, a nickname perhaps as laden with irony as Ray "the Romford Pelé" Parlour's.

    Norwich City Premier League 2011-12 team guide

  • Literature: a name perhaps invented by Shakespeare for a character in his play The Merchant of Venice.

    15,000 Baby Names

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