Definition of perfect in US English:



Pronunciation /ˈpərfikt//ˈpərfɪkt/
  • 1Having all the required or desirable elements, qualities, or characteristics; as good as it is possible to be.

    ‘life certainly isn't perfect at the moment’
    ‘a perfect summer's day’
    • ‘Something makes it possible for the pool and diver to exist, and makes a perfect dive possible.’
    • ‘Then I pulled my pillow down, put my head in the perfect spot, fitting right in between his collar bone and jaw.’
    • ‘It is a perfect summer's evening, in a quintessentially English setting outside the village of Pulborough in West Sussex.’
    • ‘A buffoon, easily duped, he is the perfect pantomime character, but here we have him as a major member of the plot.’
    • ‘Four hundred years later the kayak is still unchanged in its basic design, because for its size it is as near as possible to being a perfect boat.’
    • ‘Yes, he's been doing that character for a while now but this could be its perfect moment.’
    • ‘A perfect world wouldn't require that from him, wouldn't need him to be the brave, strong one.’
    • ‘For me to achieve a perfect throw requires concentration and luck.’
    • ‘Without exception they are courteous and efficient in their efforts to ensure your stay is as perfect as possible.’
    • ‘Two sisters sick of having to find the perfect tailor decided to do something about it.’
    • ‘The moment they were waiting for came during a perfect summer sunset.’
    • ‘He asked me out in the most romantic way possible and everything was perfect for years.’
    • ‘Aloe is the perfect houseplant because it requires little water and hardly any care.’
    • ‘Fashionable, somewhat attractive, her manners are perfect but her character is not.’
    • ‘What I love about your characters is the perfect balance of cute and sinister, attraction and repulsion.’
    • ‘At this point a special piece of equipment is required to make the perfect martini.’
    • ‘It was just about the perfect summer night, not too hot and not too cool.’
    • ‘It seems the perfect model of a classic academic pattern, or indeed a political one.’
    • ‘Sailing has all of the requirements of a perfect summer sport.’
    • ‘A perfect game requires a perfect combination of skill, concentration, and luck.’
    ideal, model, without fault, faultless, flawless, consummate, quintessential, exemplary, best, best-example, ultimate, copybook
    superb, exquisite, superlative, excellent, wonderful, marvellous, beautiful, sublime, magnificent, idyllic, blissful, utopian
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    1. 1.1 Free from any flaw or defect in condition or quality; faultless.
      ‘the equipment was in perfect condition’
      • ‘In the mind's ear, one has an ideal of the perfect performance of a piece.’
      • ‘Since being truly perfect isn't possible, they will never feel truly convinced that they are loved.’
      • ‘The seats and toilets should be maintained in perfect condition and audience should be offered snacks and drinks.’
      • ‘Very few goods - especially those on display - are in perfect, pristine condition.’
      • ‘Attempting to make sense of what happened, Joel finds a letter from her but refuses to open it for fear of shattering his ideal of the perfect life they shared.’
      • ‘Bellringing is a real physical and mental challenge, with the aim being to ring the bells and make the sound as perfect as possible.’
      • ‘But then she is back a scene later in what looks like the same car, only it is in perfect condition.’
      • ‘They have even put up notices locally, offering a £25 reward for the return of the bike in perfect condition.’
      • ‘Washington gambled on a two-part plan that required luck and perfect timing.’
      • ‘Economics deals with real man, weak and subject to error as he is, not with ideal beings omniscient and perfect as only gods could be.’
      • ‘These are characters who want perfect lives, but who keep finding out that destiny has other plans for them.’
      • ‘They arrived today, all packaged in bubble wrap and styrofoam pieces and they were in perfect condition.’
      • ‘Despite our efforts, given the magnitude of the study we do not believe it is possible to create a perfect database.’
      • ‘It is very important to note that she was wearing a white frilly dress that was still in perfect condition.’
      • ‘The original sign looked the same, but was smaller, and in perfect condition.’
      • ‘Delivery vans are equipped with fridge and freezer compartments in order to ensure goods arrive in perfect condition.’
      • ‘Since his character is perfect and unchanging, we can put our hope in him and not be disappointed.’
      • ‘He said it has been a pleasure babysitting the old powerhouse, which he says is in perfect condition and ready to start up again.’
      • ‘What I had thought was possibly foxing turned out to be green and gold spatter decoration: the thing was in perfect condition.’
      • ‘As I landed it I was amazed at its excellent condition and perfect fins.’
      flawless, mint, as good as new, pristine, impeccable, immaculate, superb, superlative, optimum, prime, optimal, peak, excellent, faultless, as sound as a bell, unspoilt, unblemished, undamaged, spotless, unmarred, unimpaired
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    2. 1.2 Precisely accurate; exact.
      ‘a perfect circle’
      • ‘We cannot know the mind of the creator with sufficient certainty to predict this with perfect accuracy.’
      • ‘These deposit themselves with perfect precision on a gold-coated silicon substrate.’
      • ‘It's a seemingly simple movement, but requires perfect form to be effective.’
      • ‘His ripples in broadcasting are perfect circles - once again, he has to fetch the coffee for the old guard of breakfast radio.’
      • ‘Dan knew that it would require the perfect timing for everything to work and go off without a hitch.’
      • ‘Each member of the team has a precise role, and perfect timing is crucial - the winner of the field gun is decided by hundredths of a second.’
      • ‘Hence the well-known depictions of the human frame with the arms and legs outstretched to meet the circumference of a perfect circle.’
      • ‘The Moon's orbit about the common center of gravity between Earth and the Moon is not quite a perfect circle.’
      • ‘All of her attacks struck with perfect accuracy but had very little effect on him.’
      • ‘I spun in a complete circle, delivering mortal wounds to all of them with perfect precision.’
      • ‘With perfect precision he swerved in between cars and into the other lane.’
      • ‘Heck, even some of the tutorial levels require perfect timing and performance to clear.’
      • ‘He had taught her to shoot with perfect accuracy when she was just a girl, and she wouldn't let him down.’
      • ‘A car pulls into the lot, disturbing the perfect circles made by the ripples.’
      • ‘Again, she left him impressed with her precise aim and perfect measuring of her distance.’
      • ‘The number of the card is zero, which when drawn is a perfect circle.’
      • ‘When he regained his balance, he found a fist flying towards him with perfect accuracy.’
      • ‘You cannot measure both the position and the momentum of any particle with perfect accuracy.’
      • ‘I blew out puffs of smoke, watching as they came out as perfect circles and then dissolved into nothing.’
      • ‘She took a piece of chalk, and drawing, freehand, she drew an almost perfect circle on the floor.’
      exact, precise, accurate, faithful, correct, unerring, right, close, true, strict
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    3. 1.3 Highly suitable for someone or something; exactly right.
      ‘with a little help you can create a room that is perfect for you’
      ‘the perfect present for golfers everywhere’
      • ‘With a little thought and not too much effort, it's possible to find the perfect gift for your Valentine.’
      • ‘The location is perfect and is the ideal last bar to visit.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, he never cast me unless I was absolutely perfect for the part.’
      • ‘We do miss your kooky yet lovable characters that are perfect for Saturday afternoon matinees.’
      • ‘It was my favorite little black dress that I thought would be absolutely perfect for my date with Rick.’
      • ‘Not that I don't love mine though - it's absolutely perfect for my small chubby hands.’
      • ‘She gave priceless performances as the precisely perfect foil for Groucho Marx.’
      • ‘Grilled chicken is an all-American summer classic, perfect for a picnic or a backyard dinner.’
      • ‘I couldn't help but display my knack of scanning a rack of women's clothes and picking out the exact, perfect combo for her to try.’
      • ‘It's a fine example of British cinema at its best, aided by a perfect cast of characters and a charming family story.’
      • ‘I jumped on the web, did a search for psychologists in my area and hit on a person who has proven over the past year to be perfect for me.’
      • ‘In short he's got the perfect character profile to be a really accomplished singer-songwriter.’
      • ‘She's absolutely perfect for it and while everyone knows her, it isn't anyone you'd expect.’
      • ‘To say too much about the ending would ruin it for you, but it is beautiful and hilarious and absolutely perfect for the play.’
      • ‘And it was just his luck that she had managed to find a guy who would be absolutely perfect for her so quickly.’
      • ‘She's got real skill as a comedienne and the super-perkiness of the character is a perfect fit for her talents.’
      • ‘If a perfect match is not possible, a kidney is allocated based on a point system.’
      ideal, just right, right, appropriate, fitting, fit, suitable, apt, made to order, tailor-made
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    4. 1.4Printing Denoting a way of binding books in which pages are glued to the spine rather than sewn together.
    5. 1.5dated Thoroughly trained in or conversant with.
      ‘she was perfect in French’
  • 2attributive Absolute; complete (used for emphasis)

    ‘a perfect stranger’
    ‘all that Joseph said made perfect sense to me’
    • ‘A thought's breadth away, a woman of perfect absolutes stood in a field of death.’
    • ‘This series is characterised by perfect realism juxtaposed with wild imagination.’
    • ‘Structurally this makes perfect sense, as life gets denser and more morally complex as you go through your teenage years.’
    • ‘He was a perfect stranger, and he spent 45 minutes making sure that I wasn't stranded.’
    • ‘All this, the writer suggests, Jesus makes possible by his perfect sacrifice.’
    • ‘Whatever their reasons for getting into engineering in the first place, it makes perfect sense for them to grab this chance to opt out.’
    • ‘Sure, the ideal would be perfect control of documents as they get passed around and changed.’
    • ‘Like all parental guilt trips, the reasoning behind it made absolute and perfect sense.’
    • ‘In a time before now all five elements existed in perfect harmony and each existed with harm to none.’
    • ‘In this view of history, infinitely perfectable humans progress towards the desirable end of perfect happiness.’
    • ‘Strange how something Kevin assumed was patently ridiculous made perfect sense to me.’
    absolute, complete, total, real, out-and-out, thorough, thoroughgoing, downright, utter, sheer, consummate, unmitigated, unqualified, veritable, in every respect, unalloyed
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  • 3Mathematics
    (of a number) equal to the sum of its positive divisors, e.g. the number 6, whose divisors (1, 2, 3) also add up to 6.

    • ‘Many mathematicians were interested in perfect numbers and tried to contribute to the theory.’
    • ‘Prior to publishing, he also found an upper bound on the least prime divisor of an odd perfect number.’
    • ‘The ninth, tenth, and eleventh perfect numbers were found after the twelfth was discovered.’
    • ‘In an early number theory paper he proved that there is no odd perfect number with fewer than four distinct prime factors.’
    • ‘He who affirms that all perfect numbers end with the figure 6 or 8 are right.’
  • 4Grammar
    (of a tense) denoting a completed action or a state or habitual action that began in the past. The perfect tense is formed in English with have or has and the past participle, as in they have eaten and they have been eating (since dawn) (present perfect), they had eaten (past perfect), and they will have eaten (future perfect).

    • ‘First, it is relevant to the formation of the perfect tense in many European languages.’
    • ‘It has seven vowels, it has no perfect tenses, it is chock-a-block with suffixes and its syntax is baroque.’
  • 5Botany
    (of a flower) having both stamens and carpels present and functional.

    • ‘Pistillate flowers are usually smaller than perfect flowers and produce nectar with lower sugar concentration.’
    1. 5.1 Denoting the stage or state of a fungus in which the sexually produced spores are formed.
    2. 5.2Entomology (of an insect) fully adult and (typically) winged.


[with object]
Pronunciation /pərˈfɛkt//pərˈfekt/
  • 1Make (something) completely free from faults or defects, or as close to such a condition as possible.

    ‘he's busy perfecting his bowling technique’
    • ‘A surgeon who has performed operations on different kinds of patients learns and perfects himself experimentally.’
    • ‘He has polished and perfected it to such a level of sophistication that few may find it easy to master.’
    • ‘What had happened by 1974 was that many of the new technologies of 1944 had been perfected, or at least made cheaper and more reliable.’
    • ‘You see, grace builds upon nature; it doesn't destroy nature, but builds upon it and perfects it.’
    • ‘All of these are unfortunately no more than vague calls for perfecting ourselves.’
    • ‘In it, he argued that people were not prisoners of their own destiny, and that happiness was thus not to be found in simply following one's own inclinations, but in perfecting oneself through active cultivation.’
    • ‘With this knowledge, he perfected the tendon transplant technique through which he carried out reconstructive surgery on those with damaged hands and feet.’
    • ‘Other students recall that it was when she improved physically that she perfected a glacial superiority that intimidated some of them.’
    • ‘Everything possible is being done to perfect plans to avoid a winter crisis, according to North Yorkshire health chiefs.’
    • ‘Working in the privacy of your own home allows you to develop and perfect your skills.’
    • ‘By these rules he and his disciples have spent about 120 years perfecting the most effective and efficient self-defense system known.’
    • ‘She saw each stroke as perfecting herself, not even noticing where the others were.’
    • ‘For the past six months the cast of 19 have been perfecting their lines and polishing up on the songs, and he says they are one of the best drama groups he has worked with at the school.’
    • ‘He ran his slender hands through his hair, perfecting his new disheveled look.’
    • ‘He had studied day and night when he was younger, perfecting each and every spell, until he could defeat anyone who stood in his way.’
    • ‘This procedure involves complete excision of the diverticular sac and has been perfected recently by the use of stapling devices.’
    • ‘The staff busied itself with perfecting a peacetime organization which meshed closely with the demands of war, so that the chaos of 1870 could never be repeated.’
    • ‘Regardless of where they live, people spend a great deal of time developing and perfecting methods of using weapons for hunting and fighting.’
    • ‘Engineers had to perfect techniques and improve the organisation of services in order to control operational expenses.’
    • ‘In the same way, the works a person does for himself are ‘life’ to him insofar as they sustain his life, because he maintains and perfects himself through them.’
    improve, make perfect, bring to perfection, better, polish, polish up, burnish, hone, refine, consummate, put the final touches to, put the finishing touches to, ameliorate, brush up, fine-tune
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic Bring to completion; finish.
      • ‘I would like tomorrow to be done with, complete, perfected.’
    2. 1.2 Complete (a printed sheet of paper) by printing the second side.
      • ‘He has since perfected his ‘soft-spoken, man-out-of-place’ style of acting, but here it is very much in test mode.’
      • ‘Having perfected his angsty, sheeny whine, he sounds good, even if he seems to spend most of this album jabbering about how late it is and what the weather's like in some city or other.’
    3. 1.3Law Satisfy the necessary conditions or requirements for the transfer of (a gift, title, etc.)
      ‘equity will not perfect an imperfect gift’
      • ‘The donor, having by then changed his mind, declines to perfect the imperfect gift in favour of the intended donee.’
      • ‘The general rule, as I see it, is that once an order dismissing an appeal has been perfected the court has no jurisdiction to revive the appeal or to allow a fresh appeal to be brought.’
      • ‘The Order which was perfected requires careful attention, for it says as follows.’
      • ‘It was submitted by the bank before the judge and before this court that, notwithstanding that the garnishee order nisi was not perfected, a genuine belief that the bank was entitled to act as it did was a defence to the claim.’
      • ‘The limits of any jurisdiction to vacate orders made and perfected by courts of appeal have not been examined or stated by this Court in the criminal sphere.’


Pronunciation /ˈpərfɪkt//ˈpərfikt/
the perfect
  • The perfect tense.


In the literal sense, perfect and unique are absolute words and should not be modified, as they often are in such phrases as most perfect, quite unique, etc. See also unique


Middle English: from Old French perfet, from Latin perfectus ‘completed’, from the verb perficere, from per- ‘through, completely’ + facere ‘do’.