[ per-sis-tuhnt, -zis- ]
See synonyms for: persistentpersistently on

  1. persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc.; persevering: a most annoyingly persistent young man.

  2. lasting or enduring tenaciously: the persistent aroma of verbena; a persistent cough.

  1. constantly repeated; continued: persistent noise.

  2. Biology.

    • continuing or permanent.

    • having continuity of phylogenetic characteristics.

  3. Botany. remaining attached beyond the usual time, as flowers, flower parts, or leaves.

Origin of persistent

First recorded in 1820–30; from Latin persistent- (stem of persistēns), present participle of persistere “to stand firm, persist”; see persist, -ent

synonym study For persistent

1. See stubborn.

Other words for persistent

Opposites for persistent

Other words from persistent

  • per·sist·ent·ly, adverb
  • non·per·sist·ent, adjective
  • non·per·sist·ent·ly, adverb

Words Nearby persistent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use persistent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for persistent


/ (pəˈsɪstənt) /

  1. showing persistence

  2. incessantly repeated; unrelenting: your persistent questioning

  1. (of plant parts) remaining attached to the plant after the normal time of withering: a fruit surrounded by a persistent perianth

  2. zoology

    • (of parts normally present only in young stages) present in the adult: persistent gills in axolotls

    • continuing to grow or develop after the normal period of growth: persistent teeth

  3. (of a chemical, esp when used as an insecticide) slow to break down; not easily degradable

Derived forms of persistent

  • persistently, adverb

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