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[per-sist, -zist] /pərˈsɪst, -ˈzɪst/
verb (used without object)
to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.:
to persist in working for world peace; to persist in unpopular political activities.
to last or endure tenaciously:
The legend of King Arthur has persisted for nearly fifteen centuries.
to be insistent in a statement, request, question, etc.
Origin of persist
1530-40; < Latin persistere literally, to stand firm permanently, equivalent to per- per- + -sistere, akin to stāre to stand
Related forms
persister, noun
persistingly, adverb
persistive, adjective
persistively, adverb
persistiveness, noun
nonpersisting, adjective
unpersisting, adjective
3. insist.
Synonym Study
1, 2. See continue. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for persisting
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • persisting in my friendliness my questions slowly drew him out.

    The Harbor Ernest Poole
  • By persisting in your path, though you forfeit the little you gain the great.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • But that persisting calm of Mr. Wilding's was too much for old Nick Trenchard.

    Mistress Wilding Rafael Sabatini
  • You see you were wrong in persisting to me that I would not find a fourth husband.

  • And he, persisting in his tone of reverie—'I do not know—I do not remember.'

    The Child of Pleasure Gabriele D'Annunzio
  • Whitmer was also accused of persisting in the use of tea, coffee, and tobacco.

    The Story of the Mormons William Alexander Linn
  • A dominant Idea informs the life of the Tree; persisting, it forms the tree.

  • She read poems, essays, the ideas of the seminary at Marysville persisting in her mind.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
British Dictionary definitions for persisting


verb (intransitive)
(often foll by in) to continue steadfastly or obstinately despite opposition or difficulty
to continue to exist or occur without interruption: the rain persisted throughout the night
Derived Forms
persister, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin persistere, from per- (intensive) + sistere to stand steadfast, from stāre to stand
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 persisting



1530s, from Middle French persister (14c.), from Latin persistere "abide, continue steadfastly," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + sistere "come to stand, cause to stand still" (see assist). Related: Persisted; persisting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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