complete and correct in every way, of the best possible type or without fault
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
1 so good that it cannot be better; with nothing wrong:
Her English is perfect.
It's perfect weather for a picnic.
2 made from 'has', 'have' or 'had' and the past participle of a verb:
I. per‧fect1 S2 W2 /ˈpɜːfɪkt $ ˈpɜːr-/ BrE AmE adjective
[Word Family: noun: ↑perfection ≠ ↑imperfection, ↑perfectionist, ↑perfectionism, ↑perfectibility; adjective: ↑perfect ≠ ↑imperfect, ↑perfectible, ↑perfectionist; verb: ↑perfect; adverb: ↑perfectly ≠ ↑imperfectly]
[Date: 1200-1300; Language: Old French; Origin: parfit, from Latin perfectus, past participle of perficere 'to do completely, finish']
1. not having any mistakes, faults, or damage OPP imperfect:
His English was perfect.
The car was in perfect condition.
You’re very lucky to have perfect teeth.
a perfect performance
In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need an army.
2. as good as possible, or the best of its kind:
The weather was perfect the whole week.
a perfect example of Gothic architecture
The clothes were a perfect fit.
a perfect solution to the problem
Ronnie was in perfect health.
perfect timing (=used when something happens at exactly the right time)
Good, you’re home. Perfect timing – dinner’s on the table.
3. exactly what is needed for a particular purpose, situation, or person SYN ideal:
That’s perfect! Just the way I wanted it to look.
Crusty bread is the perfect accompaniment to this soup.
The land is perfect for sheep farming.
perfect way/place/time etc to do something
She thought she’d found the perfect place to live.
perfect day/place/person etc for something
a perfect day for a picnic
the perfect actor for the part
4. nobody’s perfect spoken said when you are answering someone who has criticized you or someone else:
So I made a mistake! Nobody’s perfect.
5. have a perfect right to do something used to emphasize that it is reasonable for someone to do something:
He has a perfect right to know what’s happening.
6. perfect stranger/fool/angel etc used to emphasize that someone has a particular quality completely SYN complete, total:
I felt a perfect idiot.
⇨ ↑perfectly, ⇨ practice makes perfect at ↑practice(9), ⇨ ↑present perfect, ↑past perfect
• • •
COLLOCATIONS (for Meanings 1, 2 & 3)
▪ absolutely perfect His sight is absolutely perfect.
▪ quite perfect written (=absolutely perfect) The old bottle was very dark blue and quite perfect.
▪ almost/nearly/near perfect His collection included an almost perfect skeleton of an armadillo. | Her performance was near perfect.
▪ less than perfect (=not perfect) So many excellent writers, for example Byron and Keats, were less than perfect spellers.
▪ far from perfect (=not at all perfect) The weather conditions were far from perfect.
▪ technically perfect The system was technically perfect.
• • •
■ without anything wrong
▪ perfect used about something that is very good in every way, and could not be better: We had a wonderful vacation - the weather was perfect. | The meal was absolutely perfect. | She has perfect teeth.
▪ flawless/faultless without any mistakes or faults: His English was flawless. | a faultless performance
▪ impeccable so good that you cannot find anything wrong with it – used especially about someone’s behaviour, taste, or experience: The food was excellent and the service impeccable. | a man of impeccable manners, charm, and sensibility | her mother's impeccable taste in clothing | The commission was composed of economists with impeccable credentials (=very impressive qualifications and experience, which are impossible to criticize).
▪ unspoiled (also unspoilt British English) an unspoiled area has not been changed or had ugly buildings, roads etc built on it: a beautiful area of unspoiled countryside
■ most suitable
▪ perfect completely suitable for something or someone: It’s the perfect place to relax after a hard day at work. | It was a perfect day for going to the beach. | I think she would be perfect for him.
▪ ideal very suitable and exactly what you want – often used about someone or something that you imagine, but which does not really exist: What would be your ideal job? | She still hasn’t found her ideal man. | It is the ideal place for a vacation.
▪ just right especially spoken very good or suitable in every way: The weather was just right for a day at the beach. | The dress is just right for you.
▪ be just the thing/person informal to be exactly what is needed or wanted: Cold lemonade is just the thing on a hot day. | He’s just the person for the job.
per·fect [perfect perfects perfected perfecting] adjective, verb, noun
adjective [ˈpɜːfɪkt] ; [ˈpɜːrfɪkt]
1. having everything that is necessary; complete and without faults or weaknesses
• in perfect condition
• a perfect set of teeth
• Well I'm sorry— but nobody's perfect (= used when sb has criticized you).
2. completely correct; exact and accurate
• She speaks perfect English.
• a perfect copy/fit/match
• What perfect timing!
see also word-perfect
3. the best of its kind
• a perfect example of the painter's early style
• the perfect crime (= one in which the criminal is never discovered)
4. excellent; very good
• The weather was perfect.
5. ~ for sb/sth exactly right for sb/sth
• It was a perfect day for a picnic.
• She's the perfect candidate for the job.
• ‘Will 2.30 be OK for you?’ ‘Perfect, thanks.’
6. only before noun total; complete
• I don't know him— he's a perfect stranger.
7. (grammar) connected with the form of a verb that consists of part of the verb have with the past participle of the main verb, used to express actions completed by the present or a particular point in the past or future
• ‘I have eaten’ is the present perfect tense of the verb ‘to eat’, ‘I had eaten’ is the past perfect and ‘I will have eaten’ is the future perfect.
see also future perfect, past perfect, present perfect
see practice makes perfect at practice, in an ideal/a perfect world at world
Middle English: from Old French perfet, from Latin perfectus ‘completed’, from the verb perficere, from per- ‘through, completely’ + facere ‘do’.
• He smiled, revealing a perfect set of teeth.
pristine • • faultless • • flawless • • impeccable • • exemplary • • immaculate • • unspoiled •
a/an perfect/faultless/flawless/impeccable/exemplary/immaculate performance
• This farm is a perfect example of sustainable agriculture.
excellent • • outstanding • • wonderful • • classic • • first-rate • • prime • • superb • |informal fantastic • • terrific • |BrE, especially spoken marvellous • |AmE, especially spoken marvelous •
a/an perfect/excellent/outstanding/wonderful/first-rate/superb/fantastic/terrific/marvellous performance/job
a/an perfect/excellent/outstanding/wonderful/classic/prime/superb/fantastic/terrific/marvellous example
• It was the perfect day for a picnic.
ideal • • optimum • • tailor-made • |spoken just right •
perfect/ideal/tailor-made/just right for sb/sth
a/an perfect/ideal opportunity/solution/candidate
Perfect or ideal? Perfect is slightly more informal. A perfect day for sth is one with very good weather; an ideal day for sth is a very convenient day.
outstanding • perfect • superb
These words all describe sth that is extremely good.
excellent • extremely good. Excellent is used especially about standards of service or of sth that sb has worked to produce: ▪ The rooms are excellent value at $20 a night. ◊ ▪ He speaks excellent English.
Excellent is also used to show that you are very pleased about sth or that you approve of sth: ▪ You can all come? Excellent!
outstanding • extremely good. Outstanding is used especially about how well sb does sth or how good sb is at sth: ▪ an outstanding achievement
perfect • extremely good. Perfect is used especially about conditions or how suitable sth is for a purpose: ▪ Conditions were perfect for walking. ◊ ▪ She came up with the perfect excuse.
superb • (informal) extremely good or impressive: ▪ The facilities at the hotel are superb.
a(n) excellent/outstanding/perfect/superb job/performance
a(n) excellent/outstanding/superb achievement
• He had brought chaos to her once perfect life.
• He had high blood pressure but was in otherwise perfect health.
• He seemed too perfect to be real.
• Her high heels emphasized her already perfect legs.
• Hove's position makes it perfect for touring.
• The day seemed perfect for a picnic.
• The town's position in the region makes it perfect for touring.
• The treaty is far from perfect, but it is clearly the way forward.
• a seemingly perfect alibi
• the impossibly perfect shine on the vinyl-tiled floors
• ‘What's your room like?’ ‘Perfect!’
• Conditions were perfect for walking.
• He has behaved like a perfect gentleman ever since I met him.
• He smiled, revealing a perfect set of teeth.
• I don't know her— she's a perfect stranger.
• I have a perfect right to ask you— and you have the right not to answer.
• In a perfect world no one would need to pay for health care.
• Most of our testers considered the driving position and seats close to perfect.
• She came up with the perfect excuse that she had to visit her sick grandmother.
• The location of the cottage makes it perfect for touring.
• Well, I'm sorry, but nobody's perfect.
• What's your idea of the perfect partner?
Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition
perfect / ˈpɜː.fekt / / ˈpɝː- / adjective (WITHOUT FAULT)
A2 complete and correct in every way, of the best possible type or without fault:
a perfect day
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
This church is a perfect example of medieval architecture.
You have a perfect English accent.
The car is five years old but is in almost perfect condition.
She thought at last she'd found the perfect man.
C2 used to emphasize a noun:
It makes perfect sense.
a perfect stranger
B1 exactly right for someone or something:
You'd be perfect for the job.
The weather's just perfect for swimming.
perfect / ˈpɜː.fekt / / ˈpɝː- / adjective specialized (PAST TENSE)
of or relating to a verb indicating a completed action:
the present perfect tense
© Cambridge University Press 2013
perfects, perfecting, perfected
(The adjective is pronounced [pɜ͟ː(r)fɪkt]. The verb is pronounced [pə(r)fe̱kt].)
1) ADJ-GRADED Something that is perfect is as good as it could possibly be.
practice makes perfect → see practice
He spoke perfect English...
Hiring a nanny has turned out to be the perfect solution...
It's a perfect example of a house reflecting the person who lives there...
Nobody is perfect.
2) ADJ-GRADED: oft ADJ for n (emphasis) If you say that something is perfect for a particular person, thing, or activity, you are emphasizing that it is very suitable for them or for that activity.
Carpet tiles are perfect for kitchens because they're easy to take up and wash...
So this could be the perfect time to buy a home.
3) ADJ If an object or surface is perfect, it does not have any marks on it, or does not have any lumps, hollows, or cracks in it.
Use only clean, Grade A, perfect eggs.
...their perfect white teeth.
4) ADJ: ADJ n (emphasis) You can use perfect to give emphasis to the noun following it.
She was a perfect fool...
Some people are always coming up to perfect strangers and asking them what they do...
What he had said to her made perfect sense.
5) VERB If you perfect something, you improve it so that it becomes as good as it can possibly be.
[V n] We perfected a hand-signal system so that he could keep me informed of hazards...
[V n] I removed the fibroid tumours, using the techniques that I have perfected.
[V n] ...girls who needed to perfect their English.
6) ADJ: ADJ n The perfect tenses of a verb are the ones used to talk about things that happened or began before a particular time, as in `He's already left' and `They had always liked her'. The present perfect tense is sometimes called the perfect tense.
→ See also future, present perfect, past perfect
1per·fect /ˈpɚfɪkt/ adj
1 [more ~; most ~]
a : having no mistakes or flaws
• a perfect [=flawless] diamond
• Your teeth are perfect.
• The car is in perfect [=mint] condition.
• The performance was perfect.
• I'm not perfect [=I make mistakes], but at least I can admit when I'm wrong.
• He thought he had committed the perfect crime. [=a crime that is done so carefully that the criminal will never be caught]
• Yes, you made a mistake, but it's okay; nobody's perfect. [=everyone makes mistakes]
• Students who have perfect attendance [=who have been present at every class] will get 10 extra points.
• If you want to be a good writer, you should write every day. Remember, practice makes perfect. [=you become better at something if you practice it often]
- see also picture-perfect
b : completely correct or accurate
• She spoke perfect English.
• He drew a perfect circle.
• a perfect replica
c : having all the qualities you want in that kind of person, situation, etc.
• She's a perfect baby. She hardly cries and she sleeps through the night.
• His behavior is a perfect example of what not to do.
• In a perfect world [=in the best possible situation], there would be no need for weapons.
2 [more ~; most ~] : exactly right for a particular purpose, situation, or person
• This is a perfect time/place/day to have a wedding.
• Going to the museum was a perfect way to spend a rainy day.
• “Is that a big enough piece of pie?” “Yes, it's perfect, thanks.”
• You have perfect timing. [=your timing is exactly right; you are present, ready, etc., at exactly the right time] I just took dinner out of the oven.
- often + for
• I found the perfect [=ideal] gift for you.
• They are a perfect match for each other.
• That picture is perfect for this room.
• The weather was perfect for a day at the beach.
3 always used before a noun : complete and total - used for emphasis
• a perfect stranger/fool/angel/gentleman
• You have a perfect right to be angry.
• My cat and dog live together in perfect harmony.