[per-sis-tuhnt, -zis-]
  1. persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc.; persevering: a most annoyingly persistent young man.
  2. lasting or enduring tenaciously: the persistent aroma of verbena; a persistent cough.
  3. constantly repeated; continued: persistent noise.
  4. Biology.
    1. continuing or permanent.
    2. having continuity of phylogenetic characteristics.
  5. Botany. remaining attached beyond the usual time, as flowers, flower parts, or leaves.

Origin of persistent

1820–30; < Latin persistent- (stem of persistēns), present participle of persistere to persist; see -ent
Related formsper·sist·ent·ly, adverbnon·per·sist·ent, adjectivenon·per·sist·ent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for persistent

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

British Dictionary definitions for nonpersistent


  1. (of pesticides) breaking down rapidly after application; not persisting in the environment


  1. showing persistence
  2. incessantly repeated; unrelentingyour persistent questioning
  3. (of plant parts) remaining attached to the plant after the normal time of witheringa fruit surrounded by a persistent perianth
  4. zoology
    1. (of parts normally present only in young stages) present in the adultpersistent gills in axolotls
    2. continuing to grow or develop after the normal period of growthpersistent teeth
  5. (of a chemical, esp when used as an insecticide) slow to break down; not easily degradable
Derived Formspersistently, adverb
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 nonpersistent



1723, from persistence or from Latin persistentem (nominative persistens), present participle of persistere (see persist). Related: Persistently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

nonpersistent in Medicine


  1. Having a short life or existence under natural conditions.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.