[per-sist, -zist]
See more synonyms for persist on
verb (used without object)
  1. to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.: to persist in working for world peace; to persist in unpopular political activities.
  2. to last or endure tenaciously: The legend of King Arthur has persisted for nearly fifteen centuries.
  3. to be insistent in a statement, request, question, etc.

Origin of persist

1530–40; < Latin persistere literally, to stand firm permanently, equivalent to per- per- + -sistere, akin to stāre to stand
Related formsper·sist·er, nounper·sist·ing·ly, adverbper·sis·tive, adjectiveper·sis·tive·ly, adverbper·sis·tive·ness, nounnon·per·sist·ing, adjectiveun·per·sist·ing, adjective

Synonyms for persist

See more synonyms for on
3. insist.

Synonym study

1, 2. See continue. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for persist

Contemporary Examples of persist

Historical Examples of persist

  • Why should she persist in this eternal search for this impossible condition?


    Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius

  • I beg of you to persist in your address—the unnatural brother called it address!

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • But if you persist in this way, Nat,—don't you know what it means?

    The Fortune Hunter

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • But why will you persist in living up here without any comfort?

  • But what you do not know is that the type once established does not persist of its own accord.

British Dictionary definitions for persist


verb (intr)
  1. (often foll by in) to continue steadfastly or obstinately despite opposition or difficulty
  2. to continue to exist or occur without interruptionthe rain persisted throughout the night
Derived Formspersister, noun

Word Origin for persist

C16: from Latin persistere, from per- (intensive) + sistere to stand steadfast, from stāre to stand
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 persist

1530s, from Middle French persister (14c.), from Latin persistere "abide, continue steadfastly," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + sistere "come to stand, cause to stand still" (see assist). Related: Persisted; persisting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper