Per Definition and Legal Meaning

On this page, you'll find the legal definition and meaning of Per, written in plain English, along with examples of how it is used.

What is Per?

A latin term meaning “by head” or siply “by” as in “per capita” , “per day”.

History and Meaning of Per

The term "per" is a Latin word that means "by" or "through." It is used to denote a rate or ratio, such as "miles per hour" or "cost per unit." The origin of the word "per" dates back to the 15th century, and it has since become a useful and widely used term in many contexts, including legal, financial, and scientific.

Examples of Per

  1. "Per capita" - meaning "by head," this term is used to describe an average value per person. For example, the per capita income of a country would be the total income divided by the total population.

  2. "Per diem" - this term is used to describe a daily allowance or rate, typically used for travel or lodging expenses. For example, a company might provide employees with a per diem allowance to cover food and lodging while on a business trip.

  3. "Per se" - meaning "in itself," this term is often used to describe something that is inherently true or valid. For example, someone might say "Driving a car is not per se dangerous," meaning that driving a car is not inherently dangerous but can be depending on the circumstances.

Legal Terms Similar to Per

  • "Pro rata" - meaning "in proportion," this term is often used in legal and financial contexts to describe calculations or payments that are proportional to some other factor.

  • "Ad valorem" - meaning "according to value," this term is often used in taxation to describe a tax that is based on the value of the item being taxed.

  • "Per stirpes" - meaning "by branch," this term is often used in estate planning to describe the distribution of assets to a deceased person's descendants.