1. continuing or enduring forever; everlasting.
  2. lasting an indefinitely long time: perpetual snow.
  3. continuing or continued without intermission or interruption; ceaseless: a perpetual stream of visitors all day.
  4. blooming almost continuously throughout the season or the year.
  1. a hybrid rose that is perpetual.
  2. a perennial plant.

Origin of perpetual

1300–50; late Middle English perpetuall < Latin perpetuālis permanent, equivalent to perpetu(us) uninterrupted (per- per- + pet-, base of petere to seek, reach for + -uus deverbal adj. suffix) + -ālis -al1; replacing Middle English perpetuel < Middle French < Latin as above
Related formsper·pet·u·al·i·ty, per·pet·u·al·ness, nounper·pet·u·al·ly, adverbnon·per·pet·u·al, adjectivenon·per·pet·u·al·ly, adverbqua·si-per·pet·u·al, adjectivequa·si-per·pet·u·al·ly, adverb

Synonyms for perpetual

1. permanent, enduring. See eternal. 3. continuous, incessant, constant, unending, uninterrupted.

Antonyms for perpetual Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for non-perpetual


  1. (usually prenominal) eternal; permanent
  2. (usually prenominal) seemingly ceaseless because often repeatedyour perpetual complaints
  3. horticulture blooming throughout the growing season or year
  1. (of a crop plant) continually producing edible parts: perpetual spinach
  2. a plant that blooms throughout the growing season
Derived Formsperpetually, adverb

Word Origin for perpetual

C14: via Old French from Latin perpetuālis universal, from perpes continuous, from per- (thoroughly) + petere to go towards
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

Word Origin and History for non-perpetual



mid-14c., from Old French perpetuel "without end" (12c.) and directly from Latin perpetualis "universal," in Medieval Latin "permanent," from perpetuus "continuous, universal," from perpetis, genitive of Old Latin perpes "lasting," probably from per- "through" + root of petere "to seek, go to, aim at" (see petition (n.)). Related: Perpetually. Perpetual motion is attested from 1590s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper