Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To begin and carry through to completion; do.
  • intransitive verb To take action in accordance with the requirements of; fulfill.
  • intransitive verb To enact (a feat or role) before an audience.
  • intransitive verb To give a public presentation of; present.
  • intransitive verb To function or accomplish something as expected or required.
  • intransitive verb To yield a return on investment.
  • intransitive verb To portray a role or demonstrate a skill before an audience.
  • intransitive verb To present a dramatic or musical work or other entertainment before an audience.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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 the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • transitive verb To carry through; to bring to completion; to achieve; to accomplish; to execute; to do.
  • transitive verb To discharge; to fulfill; to act up to
  • transitive verb To represent; to act; to play; as in drama.
  • intransitive verb 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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Middle English performen, from Anglo-Norman performer, from Old French parfornir : par-, intensive pref. (from Latin per-, per-) + fournir, to furnish; see furnish.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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.

Examples

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