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verb (used without object), per·se·vered, per·se·ver·ing.
  1. to persist in anything undertaken; maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles, or discouragement; continue steadfastly.
  2. to persist in speech, interrogation, argument, etc.; insist.
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verb (used with object), per·se·vered, per·se·ver·ing.
  1. to bolster, sustain, or uphold: unflagging faith that had persevered him.
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Origin of persevere

1325–75; Middle English perseveren < Middle French perseverer < Latin persevērāre to persist, derivative of persevērus very strict. See per-, severe

Synonym study

1. See continue.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for persevere


  1. (intr often foll by in) to show perseverance
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Derived Formspersevering, adjectiveperseveringly, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Old French perseverer, from Latin persevērāre, from perseverus very strict; see severe
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 persevere


mid-14c., from Old French perseverer "continue, persevere, endure" and directly from Latin perseverare "continue steadfastly, persist," from persevereus "very strict, earnest," from per- "very" (see per) + severus "strict" (see severity). Related: Persevered; persevering.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper