perhaps

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Alteration (via plural -s or adverbial -s) of earlier perhap, equivalent to per +‎ hap (chance, coincidence).

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

perhaps (not comparable)

  1. Modifies a verb, indicating a lack of certainty.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 1, The Celebrity:
      The stories did not seem to me to touch life. They were plainly intended to have a bracing moral effect, and perhaps had this result for the people at whom they were aimed.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 7, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      With some of it on the south and more of it on the north of the great main thoroughfare that connects Aldgate and the East India Docks, St. Bede's at this period of its history was perhaps the poorest and most miserable parish in the East End of London.
    • 2013 June 7, David Simpson, “Fantasy of navigation”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 36: 
      It is tempting to speculate about the incentives or compulsions that might explain why anyone would take to the skies in [the] basket [of a balloon]: perhaps out of a desire to escape the gravity of this world or to get a preview of the next; […].
    Perhaps John will come over for dinner.
  2. (rare) By chance.
    • "...will live until he dies perhaps, and then lie down in clover." --Landlord, Fill the Flowing Bowl (song)

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