percentile [per-sen-tahyl, -til]Statistics. ExamplesWord Origin noun

  1. one of the values of a variable that divides the distribution of the variable into 100 groups having equal frequencies: Ninety percent of the values lie at or below the ninetieth percentile, ten percent above it.


  1. of or relating to a percentile or a division of a distribution by percentiles.

Origin of percentile First recorded in 1880–85; percent + -ile Can be confusedpercent percentage percentile (see usage note at percent) Examples from the Web for percentile Contemporary Examples of percentile

  • These differentials, he writes “places the average black at roughly the 16th percentile of the white IQ distribution.”

    Immigrants’ IQ Lower, Wrote Coathor of Heritage Foundation Report

    Jamelle Bouie

    May 9, 2013

  • The new measure is a relative measure, pegged to (approximately) how much the 33rd percentile is spending on various things.

    The Poor We Shall Always Have With Us

    Megan McArdle

    November 16, 2012

  • Really well, actually—in the 97th percentile on reading comprehension and the 87th in math.

    The Great College Road Trip

    Nick Summers

    April 8, 2011

  • A state in the 90th percentile (with the least amount of complaints filed) was given 20 points.

    20 Most Tolerant States

    The Daily Beast

    January 16, 2011

  • A state in the 90th percentile (with the least amount of hate crimes) was given 20 points.

    20 Most Tolerant States

    The Daily Beast

    January 16, 2011

  • Historical Examples of percentile

  • In height he gained from the 25 percentile to the 40 percentile.

    Adenoids and Diseased Tonsils

    Margaret Cobb Rogers

  • In other words, the lengths of the individual vectors denote the percentile rle that each night played in the total density.

    A Quantitative Study of the Nocturnal Migration of Birds.

    George H. Lowery.

  • British Dictionary definitions for percentile percentile noun

    1. one of 99 actual or notional values of a variable dividing its distribution into 100 groups with equal frequencies; the 90th percentile is the value of a variable such that 90% of the relevant population is below that valueAlso called: centile

    Word Origin and History for percentile n.

    1885, coined by English scientist Francis Galton (1822-1911) from percent + -ile.

    percentile in Science percentile [pər-sĕn′tīl′]

    1. Any of the 100 equal parts into which the range of the values of a set of data can be divided in order to show the distribution of those values. The percentile of a given value is determined by the percentage of the values that are smaller than that value. For example, a test score that is higher than 95 percent of the other scores is in the 95th percentile.

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