[per-sev-uh-rey-shuh n]


the act or process of perseverating.
Psychiatry. the pathological, persistent repetition of a word, gesture, or act, often associated with brain damage or schizophrenia.

Origin of perseveration

1605–15 in sense “perseverance”; persevere + -ation, or < Latin perseverātiōn-, stem of persevērātiō Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for perseveration

Historical Examples of perseveration

  • It is therefore really to be designated as perseveration, but not necessarily as the perseveration of spoken words.

  • In the foreground stands a strong tendency to perseveration.

    Benign Stupors

    August Hoch

  • These are plainly reactions of the path of least resistance or, in these instances, of perseveration.

    Benign Stupors

    August Hoch

  • Stereotypy and perseveration are other evidences of this narrowness of thought content.

    Benign Stupors

    August Hoch

  • This again makes it a case of perseveration of the sort stressed by Meringer, but of a longer duration.

British Dictionary definitions for perseveration


noun psychol

the tendency for an impression, idea, or feeling to dissipate only slowly and to recur during subsequent experiences
an inability to change one's method of working when transferred from one task to another
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 perseveration

early 15c., "duration, quality of persisting; will to persevere," from Old French perseveracion "persistence, stubbornness" (13c.) and directly, from Latin perseverationem (nominative perseveratio), noun of action from past participle stem of perseverare (see persevere). Psychological sense (1915) is from German.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for perseveration




Uncontrollable repetition of a particular response, such as a word, phrase, or gesture, despite the absence or cessation of a stimulus, usually caused by brain injury or other organic disorder.
The tendency to continue or repeat an act or activity after the cessation of the original stimulus.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.