(pl. per cent, percent) one part in every hundred Poor families spend about 80 to 90 per cent of their income on food. It is often stated that we use only 10 per cent of our brain. What per cent of the population is/are overweight? Grammar Pointexpressing percentages Percentages (= numbers of per cent) are written in words as twenty-five per cent and in figures as 25%. If a percentage is used with an uncountable or a singular noun the verb is generally singular:90% of the land is cultivated. If the noun is singular but represents a group of people, the verb is singular in North American English but in British English it may be singular or plural:Eighty per cent of the work force is/are against the strike. If the noun is plural, the verb is plural:65% of children play computer games. Word Origin mid 16th cent.: from per + cent, perhaps an abbreviation of pseudo-Latin per centum.