[per-sist, -zist]

verb (used without object)

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.
to last or endure tenaciously: The legend of King Arthur has persisted for nearly fifteen centuries.
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

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 persisted

Contemporary Examples of persisted

Historical Examples of persisted

  • Yet the thought of her had persisted as a plaintive undertone through all the days after.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "Not at all," persisted he, accepting as conversation what she meant as a stab.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • It is a crime which, if persisted in, will destroy the Government itself.

  • But, to my mortification and surprise, you persisted, and still persist.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • She persisted, and Miss Dasomma knew that she would persist.

    Weighed and Wanting

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for persisted


verb (intr)

(often foll by in) to continue steadfastly or obstinately despite opposition or difficulty
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 persisted



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