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[pur-muh-nuh nt] /ˈpɜr mə nənt/
existing perpetually; everlasting, especially without significant change.
intended to exist or function for a long, indefinite period without regard to unforeseeable conditions:
a permanent employee; the permanent headquarters of the United Nations.
long-lasting or nonfading:
permanent pleating; permanent ink.
Also called permanent wave. a wave or curl that is set into the hair by the application of a special chemical preparation and that remains for a number of months.
Origin of permanent
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English < Latin permanent- (stem of permanēns), present participle of permanēre to remain. See per-, remain, -ent
Related forms
permanently, adverb
permanentness, noun
nonpermanent, adjective
nonpermanently, adverb
pseudopermanent, adjective
quasi-permanent, adjective
quasi-permanently, adverb
subpermanent, adjective
subpermanently, adverb
unpermanent, adjective
unpermanently, adverb
1. stable, invariable, constant.
1. temporary; inconstant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for permanent wave
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A pretty mess I was, as bad as a woman getting a permanent wave.

    Cue for Quiet Thomas L. Sherred
  • A subtitle announced: "He had put a permanent wave in Marcel."

    Merton of the Movies Harry Leon Wilson
  • Her cheek nested in his permanent wave, Warble studied the pictures.

    Ptomaine Street Carolyn Wells
  • His walnut hair was fine and silky, but a permanent wave made it fuzz forth in a bushy crinkle that was distractingly lovely.

    Ptomaine Street Carolyn Wells
  • Also she's a home-grown siren that works without the aid of a lip-stick, permanent wave, or an eyebrow pencil.

    Torchy and Vee Sewell Ford
  • And Mrs. Garvey turns the color of a fire hydrant clear up into her permanent wave.

    Torchy As A Pa Sewell Ford
  • That would take the permanent wave out of your hair, old grouch!

  • She still clung to the bobbed henna wig with its permanent wave.

    Mary Louise and Josie O'Gorman

    Emma Speed Sampson
British Dictionary definitions for permanent wave

permanent wave

another name (esp formerly) for perm1 (sense 1)


existing or intended to exist for an indefinite period: a permanent structure
not expected to change for an indefinite time; not temporary: a permanent condition
Derived Forms
permanently, adverb
Word Origin
C15: from Latin permanens continuing, from permanēre to stay to the end, from per- through + manēre to remain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for permanent wave



early 15c., from Middle French permanent (14c.) or directly from Latin permanentem (nominative permanens) "remaining," present participle of permanere "endure, hold out, continue, stay to the end," from per- "through" (see per) + manere "stay" (see mansion). As a noun meaning "permanent wave," by 1909. Of clothing, permanent press attested from 1964.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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