lasting for an indefinitely long time; enduring: her perennial beauty.
(of plants) having a life cycle lasting more than two years.
lasting or continuing throughout the entire year, as a stream.
perpetual; everlasting; continuing; recurrent.


a perennial plant: Daffodils and tulips are perennials.
something that is continuing or recurrent.

Origin of perennial

1635–45; < Latin perenni(s) lasting the whole year through (per- per- + -enn-, combining form of annus year + -is adj. suffix) + -al1
Related formsper·en·ni·al·i·ty, nounper·en·ni·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedannual perennial

Synonyms for perennial Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for perennial

Contemporary Examples of perennial

Historical Examples of perennial

  • Bacon and greens and her perennial tea were good enough for her.

  • And for art-lovers, what perennial beauty of an antique art is here.

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • There is no sere and yellow leaf here—fruits and flowers are perennial.

    Aztec Land

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • Seed-time and harvest are perennial on these peculiar islands.

    Aztec Land

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • But for her son it still had all the misery of perennial newness.

    The Genius

    Margaret Horton Potter

British Dictionary definitions for perennial



lasting throughout the year or through many years
everlasting; perpetual


a woody or herbaceous plant that can continue its growth for at least two yearsCompare annual (def. 3), biennial (def. 3)
Derived Formsperennially, adverb

Word Origin for perennial

C17: from Latin perennis continual, from per through + annus year
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 perennial

1640s, "evergreen," formed in English from Latin perennis "lasting through the year (or years)," from per- "through" (see per) + annus "year" (see annual). Botanical sense of "Remaining alive through a number of years" is attested from 1670s; figurative meaning of "enduring, permanent" is from 1750. Related: Perennially. For vowel change, see biennial. The noun meaning "a perennial plant" is from 1763.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

perennial in Science




Living for three or more years.


A perennial plant. Herbaceous perennials survive winter and drought as underground roots, rhizomes, bulbs, corms, or tubers. Woody perennials, including vines, shrubs, and trees, usually stop growing during winter and drought. Asters, irises, tulips, and peonies are familiar garden perennials. Compare annual biennial.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.