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Para vs. Peri: What's the Difference?

Edited by Sumera Saeed || By Sawaira Riaz || Published on December 5, 2023
"Para-" denotes alongside or beyond, often used in terms like parallel or paranormal, while "peri-" means around or surrounding, used in words like perimeter or periscope.

Key Differences

The prefix "para-" in English is used to indicate something that is alongside, beyond, or closely related to another thing. For example, "paranormal" refers to phenomena beyond the normal range of experience. In contrast, "peri-" is a prefix indicating something that is around or near something else, as in "perimeter," which means the outer boundary of an area.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023
"Para-" can also suggest a deviation or departure from the norm, as seen in "paradox," which is a statement that contradicts itself yet might be true. "Peri-" often relates to surrounding or enclosing, evident in "pericardium," which refers to the tissue encasing the heart.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023
In the medical field, "para-" is used to describe something related to or alongside, such as "parathyroid" glands, which are adjacent to the thyroid gland. On the other hand, "peri-" is used to denote something that encircles or encompasses, like "perineural," meaning around a nerve.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 05, 2023
"Para-" can also imply protection or defense, as in "parapet," a protective wall or barrier. Conversely, "peri-" suggests an encompassing or surrounding aspect in terms of time or space, as seen in "periodic," meaning occurring at regular intervals.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 05, 2023
The use of "para-" can indicate assisting or auxiliary functions, such as "paramedic," a person trained to assist in medical emergencies. "Peri-" can also denote proximity or closeness, as in "peripheral," which refers to the outer areas or edges.
Aimie Carlson
Dec 05, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Meaning

Alongside, beyond, deviation from norm
Around, surrounding, enclosing
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Usage in Language

Suggests deviation or relatedness
Indicates surrounding or encompassing
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Medical Terminology

Related to or alongside (e.g., parathyroid)
Encircling or encompassing (e.g., pericardium)
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Implication

Protection, assistance, or auxiliary
Encompassing in time or space
Harlon Moss
Dec 05, 2023

Example in Context

Paranormal, paradox, paramedic
Perimeter, periodic, peripheral
Janet White
Dec 05, 2023
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Para and Peri Definitions

Para

Para- indicates alongside or related to.
Paralegal professionals work alongside lawyers.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 27, 2023

Peri

Peri- means around or surrounding.
The perimeter of the park was lined with trees.
Sumera Saeed
Nov 27, 2023

Para

Para- can imply deviation or departure from the norm.
The book explored various paranormal activities.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 27, 2023

Peri

Peri- is used in terms relating to encompassing aspects.
He took a peripheral glance to assess the situation.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Para

Para- can suggest protection or defense.
The soldiers took cover behind the stone parapet.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023

Peri

Peri- often relates to something near or close by.
The periodic meetings helped keep the team aligned.
Aimie Carlson
Nov 27, 2023

Para

Para- is used in medical terms to indicate nearness or adjacency.
The parathyroid glands play a crucial role in calcium regulation.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 27, 2023

Peri

Peri- can indicate enclosure or encompassment.
The pericardium protects the heart.
Janet White
Nov 27, 2023

Para

Para- may denote an assisting or auxiliary function.
Paramedics arrived quickly at the accident scene.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Peri

Peri- can suggest proximity in terms of time or space.
Perinatal care is vital for the health of mother and baby.
Harlon Moss
Nov 27, 2023

Para

(historical) A former subunit of currency in several countries in the Ottoman/Turkish and Yugoslav regions.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2023

Peri

In Persian mythology, a beautiful and benevolent supernatural being or fairy, earlier regarded as malevolent.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2023

Peri

(Persian mythology) A sprite or supernatural being.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2023

Peri

An imaginary being, male or female, like an elf or fairy, represented as a descendant of fallen angels, excluded from paradise till penance is accomplished.
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2023

Peri

A beautiful and graceful girl
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2023

Peri

(Persian folklore) a supernatural being descended from fallen angels and excluded from paradise until penance is done
Sawaira Riaz
Nov 23, 2023

FAQs

Does peri- always mean physically surrounding?

Peri- often means physically surrounding, but can also imply proximity in time or space.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Can para- indicate assistance?

Yes, para- can indicate an assisting or auxiliary role.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Can para- imply deviation from the norm?

Yes, para- can imply a departure or deviation from what is typical.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

What is an example of para- in everyday language?

"Paralegal" is an example, indicating someone who assists legally but is not a lawyer.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

What does peri- mean?

Peri- means around, near, or surrounding.
Sumera Saeed
Dec 05, 2023

Does peri- suggest protection?

Peri- more commonly suggests surrounding or encompassing rather than protection.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Is para- used in medical terms?

Yes, para- is common in medical terminology to indicate nearness or relatedness.
Janet White
Dec 05, 2023

Is para- associated with paranormal?

Yes, "paranormal" uses para- to indicate beyond normal experiences.
Janet White
Dec 05, 2023

Does peri- relate to periodic events?

Yes, "periodic" uses peri- to imply occurring at regular intervals.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

What does para- mean?

Para- means alongside, beyond, or closely related.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Is peri- used in medical terminology?

Yes, peri- is used in medical terms to denote surrounding or enclosing structures.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Do para- and peri- have opposite meanings?

They don't have opposite meanings, but different: alongside/beyond vs. around/surrounding.
Janet White
Dec 05, 2023

Can para- denote similarity?

Para- can suggest similarity or relatedness to something.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Can peri- imply proximity in terms of importance?

Peri- more commonly implies physical proximity or enclosure.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Does peri- appear in botanical terms?

Yes, peri- is used in botanical terms like "perianth," the outer part of a flower.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Are para- and peri- of Greek origin?

Yes, both prefixes have Greek origins.
Janet White
Dec 05, 2023

Is peri- used in "peripheral"?

Yes, "peripheral" uses peri- to mean on the edge or outer limits.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

Does para- appear in technology terms?

Yes, para- appears in terms like "parallel processing" in technology.
Sawaira Riaz
Dec 05, 2023

What is an example of peri- in everyday language?

"Perimeter" is a common example, meaning the boundary around an area.
Janet White
Dec 05, 2023

Is para- used in the term "paradox"?

Yes, "paradox" uses para- to indicate against the expected norm.
Janet White
Dec 05, 2023
About Author
Written by
Sawaira Riaz
Sawaira is a dedicated content editor at difference.wiki, where she meticulously refines articles to ensure clarity and accuracy. With a keen eye for detail, she upholds the site's commitment to delivering insightful and precise content.
Edited by
Sumera Saeed
Sumera is an experienced content writer and editor with a niche in comparative analysis. At Diffeence Wiki, she crafts clear and unbiased comparisons to guide readers in making informed decisions. With a dedication to thorough research and quality, Sumera's work stands out in the digital realm. Off the clock, she enjoys reading and exploring diverse cultures.

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