In Persian mythology, a race of beautiful fairy-like creatures descended from fallen angels and excluded from paradise until their penance is accomplished. A second meaning is a lovely, graceful person (250). Stedman (274) says the word was synonymous with fairy in Gilbert's day. In one of the Philadelphia art museums there is a statue of a peri; she looks just like an angel, wings and all, but is strikingly bare breasted.
Rhymes with cheery