Definition of percent in English:


(British per cent)


  • By a specified amount in or for every hundred.

    ‘new car sales may be down nineteen percent’
    ‘staff rejected a 1.8 percent increase’
    • ‘The Government is saying that the best it can ever expect is 3.9 percent economic growth.’
    • ‘I thought about it for a few days and you know what, I think it's 100 percent the right thing to do.’
    • ‘However, my experience of camp food is one hundred percent favourable.’
    • ‘To get the cash we have to carry and sort a daily load which is 50 percent greater than before.’
    • ‘The cost of meat in the stores is at least 2 percent higher than it was last year.’
    • ‘What is felt towards you is ten percent genuine disagreement and ninety per cent envy.’
    • ‘You can't win in this world unless you are 100 percent flexible, and none of us are that.’
    • ‘The union has cut its wage demand by more than half, seeking a 2.5 percent yearly increase.’
    • ‘They say they are being paid nine percent less than their public hospital counterparts.’
    • ‘Too often we find ourselves judging people when we are far from 100 percent a saint.’
    • ‘We lived in an area that was 99 percent Jewish, with immigrants from Russia and Poland.’
    • ‘When the needle was rotated back and forth, the pullout force was 53 percent greater.’
    • ‘If anyone out there can explain to me how hair can be sixty percent shinier, please let me know.’
    • ‘If we are one hundred percent convinced of our case then a little dishonesty to iron out the odd inconsistency hardly seems wrong.’
    • ‘To put that in perspective, the district is twenty percent larger than the State of Massachusetts.’
    • ‘It has opened the door for 74 percent foreign direct investment in the telecom sector.’
    • ‘Children whose diets were supplemented with milk rather than meat saw a 40 percent greater increase.’
    • ‘There are few if any behavioral characteristics in humans that are one hundred percent genetic.’
    • ‘We know this virus is 100 percent preventable, so why is the number of new cases on the rise?’
    • ‘In less than two years water bills in England had rocketed to 70 percent higher than anywhere else.’


  • 1One part in every hundred.

    ‘a reduction of half a percent or so in price’
    • ‘Sixty eight per cent of respondents used some form of electronic article surveillance in at least some of their stores.’
    • ‘Only one per cent said they had been bullied because of their ethnic origin.’
    • ‘Seventy five per cent of all patients waiting for non-emergency surgery were admitted within three months for their treatment.’
    • ‘Email marketing has low response rates, typically less than half a percent, but is very, very cheap.’
    • ‘Fifty nine per cent of the patients were positive for cocaine.’
    • ‘But the total bill increase ranges from 15.1 per cent to 16.2 per cent.’
    • ‘Florida law calls for a recount if the difference between candidates is less than half of one percent.’
    • ‘Well, you're one of the, probably, half of a percent of people who would actually do that.’
    • ‘Eleven and a half percent of the participants had no educational qualifications.’
    • ‘One-third got advice from friends and only seven per cent said teachers provided appropriate information.’
    • ‘Sixty six per cent said that they thought a canal through the town centre was a good idea.’
    • ‘Only one half to one percent of the fruit Finn planted a few years ago will make it past this point.’
    • ‘According to the report, these prices fell by half a percent in October.’
    • ‘Twenty-one percent of renters paid more than half of their incomes for rent in 1981.’
    • ‘Only five per cent of respondents consider that vendors were open about the true costs associated with their products.’
    • ‘Thirty six percent of the vote to run the country cannot be right.’
    • ‘One hundred percent of the respondents voted for the latter.’
    • ‘To put that in perspective, we humans have been around for half a percent of that.’
    • ‘Sales for the past few years have only poked along, growing just a few percent per year since 1997.’
    • ‘Seventy nine per cent of patients with isolated long bone fractures received analgesia, which is consistent with a previous report.’
    1. 1.1 The rate, number, or amount in each hundred; percentage.
      ‘the percent of drug users who are infected’
      • ‘They speak of the reciprocal of the payback period as a percent per year rate of return.’
      • ‘The second compatibility problem is a slow boot issue and we believe it is a small percent of users that have experienced this.’
      • ‘Some of the leases are based on a dollar amount per square foot and some on percent of income.’


Both spellings, percent and per cent, are acceptable, but consistency should be maintained. Percent is more common in US usage; per cent is more common in British usage


Mid 16th century: from per + cent, perhaps an abbreviation of pseudo-Latin per centum.