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[per-sis-tuhnt, -zis-]
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  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.
  3. constantly repeated; continued: persistent noise.
  4. Biology.
    1. continuing or permanent.
    2. having continuity of phylogenetic characteristics.
  5. Botany. remaining attached beyond the usual time, as flowers, flower parts, or leaves.
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Origin of persistent

1820–30; < Latin persistent- (stem of persistēns), present participle of persistere to persist; see -ent
Related formsper·sist·ent·ly, adverbnon·per·sist·ent, adjectivenon·per·sist·ent·ly, adverb

Synonyms for persistent

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Antonyms for persistent

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

Examples from the Web for persistently

Contemporary Examples of persistently

Historical Examples of persistently

  • The old man has 'persistently concealed his real nature' from Betty.

  • One cannot always be original and sparkling, and it is wiser not to try too persistently.

    Roden's Corner

    Henry Seton Merriman

  • A bell rang in the house, loudly, persistently, tearing its silence.

    A Spirit in Prison

    Robert Hichens

  • But the voice continued to haunt him persistently, besiegingly, despotically.

    The Manxman

    Hall Caine

  • In and out of every day persistently, desperately, endlessly we seek.

    The Prodigal Returns

    Lilian Staveley

British Dictionary definitions for persistently


  1. showing persistence
  2. incessantly repeated; unrelentingyour persistent questioning
  3. (of plant parts) remaining attached to the plant after the normal time of witheringa fruit surrounded by a persistent perianth
  4. zoology
    1. (of parts normally present only in young stages) present in the adultpersistent gills in axolotls
    2. continuing to grow or develop after the normal period of growthpersistent teeth
  5. (of a chemical, esp when used as an insecticide) slow to break down; not easily degradable
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Derived Formspersistently, 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

Word Origin and History for persistently



1723, from persistence or from Latin persistentem (nominative persistens), present participle of persistere (see persist). Related: Persistently.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper