a. A fraction or ratio with 100 understood as the denominator; for example, 0.98 equals a percentage of 98.
b. The result obtained by multiplying a quantity by a percent.
2. A proportion or share in relation to a whole; a part: The hecklers constituted only a small percentage of the audience.
3. An amount, such as an allowance, duty, or commission, that varies in proportion to a larger sum, such as total sales: work for a percentage.
4. Informal Advantage; gain: There is no percentage in work without pay.
Usage Note: When preceded by the, percentage takes a singular verb: The percentage of unskilled workers is small. When preceded by a, it takes either a singular or plural verb, depending on the number of the noun in the prepositional phrase that follows: A small percentage of the workers are unskilled. A large percentage of the crop has spoiled.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.