OutskirtsThe word outskirts refer to outlying areas. It can be the neighborhoods, regions, or districts outside of a city.
Ex: I live on the outskirts of town. I value the peace I find living in the countryside rather than being a part of the busy downtown activity.
Ex: The outskirts of the city are not heavily populated. There is no disruption or noise to worry about, but the grocery store is so far away!
The word outskirts can also mean the outlying border of a specific quality or condition.
Ex: Benjamin's behaviour is on the outskirts of acceptability. It is a sad state of affairs when a child is disrespectful to an adult.
Ex: My dear friend's feelings are on the outskirts of sadness. I am hoping that it is not a serious depression.
PeripheryThe word periphery means the outer boundary of a surface or area, as in the outer limits of a city. In this case, it is a synonym for outskirts.
Ex: The tennis court is on the periphery of the school's property. I would not bother trying to walk that far. You will need to drive.
Ex: The periphery of the city does not have paved roads. It can be a struggle to get anywhere quickly when trying to drive out there.
The word periphery can also refer to the minor or unimportant details of a subject being discussed or thought about.
Ex: The fact that my mother is angry with me is just the periphery of the problem. I am a nervous wreck about discussing it with her.
Ex: I enjoyed the novels in my literature course, but I felt that we only discussed the periphery of the issues that simmered underneath.