[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 persisting

Contemporary Examples of persisting

Historical Examples of persisting

  • Persisting in my friendliness my questions slowly drew him out.

    The Harbor

    Ernest Poole

  • By persisting in your path, though you forfeit the little you gain the great.

    Essays, First Series

    Ralph Waldo Emerson

  • But that persisting calm of Mr. Wilding's was too much for old Nick Trenchard.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • You see you were wrong in persisting to me that I would not find a fourth husband.

  • And he, persisting in his tone of reverie—'I do not know—I do not remember.'

    The Child of Pleasure

    Gabriele D'Annunzio

British Dictionary definitions for persisting


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 persisting



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