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I often encounter US citizens saying something like this:

<Some phrases>. Period.

What does that mean?

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closed as general reference by RegDwigнt Jun 4 '12 at 13:15

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

In Britain they say "full stop" and not "period". With the same meaning, as explained in the answers. – GEdgar Jun 1 '12 at 18:15
@GEdgar, Really? That's interesting... I never knew that. – JLG Jun 1 '12 at 18:26
@GEdgar: Many Brits now say "End of" in this context (i.e. - "End of story", "No further discussion"). – FumbleFingers Jun 1 '12 at 21:15
@GEdgar, I knew the period was called a full stop, but I don't think I've ever heard (or read) a sentence like (to borrow from Clark Kent), "Phones should only be used for communication, full stop." Is that what you meant? British people say that? (I wish I could find a video of that, but couldn't seem to.) – JLG Jun 2 '12 at 0:34
I guess Black-Adder is considered British? So maybe there is a video of this scene somewhere: suslik.org/Humour/FilmOrTV/BlackAdder/ba2-6.html – GEdgar Jun 2 '12 at 0:43
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Period at the end of the sentence means, the things said in the sentence are definite and no change is allowed.

For example, "I want the document without any errors, period" meaning that there should not be any errors in the document.

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A period is what the full stop is called in American English. Saying period at the end of a sentence is a way of expressing the finality of what is being said. For example,

A: But phones are good for taking pictures.

B: No, I don't think so. Phones should only be used for communication, period.

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Moreover, your final word period there can be rewritten as full stop without any change in meaning whatsoever. – tchrist Jun 2 '12 at 0:58
@tchrist: Except possibly confusing some American listeners. "Full stop" tends to sound more like something from an old-timey telegram. "NO I DONT THINK SO STOP TELEGRAPHS SHOULD ONLY BE USED FOR COMMUNICATION FULL STOP SIGNED NATE ELDREDGE" – Nate Eldredge Jun 2 '12 at 3:47
@NateEldredge Are we really that confusable these days? – tchrist Jun 4 '12 at 10:37
@tchrist & Nate, some of us are. :) I'd have at least given you the crooked head look for "full stop". – TecBrat Sep 5 '12 at 3:27

In your example, period is used as an interjection. As the Wiktionary explains:

1) (chiefly North America) And nothing else; and nothing less; used for emphasis.

When I say "eat your dinner," it means "eat your dinner," period!

You usually use it to end a sentence/statement/command which you don't want to discuss/negotiate further.

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