[per-sis-tuh ns, -zis-]
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  1. the act or fact of persisting.
  2. the quality of being persistent: You have persistence, I'll say that for you.
  3. continued existence or occurrence: the persistence of smallpox.
  4. the continuance of an effect after its cause is removed.
Often per·sist·en·cy.

Origin of persistence

First recorded in 1540–50; persist + -ence
Related formsnon·per·sist·ence, nounnon·per·sist·en·cy, noun

Synonyms for persistence

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

Examples from the Web for persistence

Contemporary Examples of persistence

Historical Examples of persistence

  • In this persistence he displayed courage worthy of a better reward.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Presently, however, the sincerity and persistence of the girl won him over.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • This persistence in a phylloxera-ravaged district is quite touching.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Ingres' persistence looked like folly, even madness in his eyes.

    In the Heart of Vosges

    Matilda Betham-Edwards

  • Mr. Gordon believed that to shrewdness and persistence all things are possible.

British Dictionary definitions for persistence



  1. the quality of persisting; tenacity
  2. the act of persisting; continued effort or existence
  3. the continuance of an effect after the cause of it has stoppedpersistence of vision
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 persistence

1540s, from Middle French persistance, from persistant "lasting, enduring, permanent," from Latin persistentem (nominative persistens), present participle of persistere (see persist). Often spelled persistance 16c. Related: Persistency.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

persistence in Medicine


  1. Continuance of an effect after the cause is removed.
  2. Continuance of a part or organ, rather than having it disappear in an early stage of development.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.