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adjective per·pet·u·al \pər-ˈpe-chə-wəl, -chəl; -ˈpech-wəl\

Simple Definition of perpetual

  • : continuing forever or for a very long time without stopping

  • : happening all the time or very often

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of perpetual

  1. 1 a :  continuing forever :  everlasting <perpetual motion> b (1) :  valid for all time <a perpetual right> (2) :  holding (as an office) for life or for an unlimited time

  2. 2 :  occurring continually :  indefinitely long-continued <perpetual problems>

  3. 3 :  blooming continuously throughout the season

perpetually adverb

Examples of perpetual in a sentence

  1. As always, I was struck by how the core values of the military—service and discipline, both physical and intellectual—are so different from the perpetual American Mardi Gras. —Joe Klein, Time, 29 Aug. 2005

  2. Because Hunter had been a perpetual Peter Pan, accepting the bleak reality of his death came hard. —Douglas Brinkley, Rolling Stone, 22 Sept. 2005

  3. He's addicted to the perpetual flux of the information networks. He craves his next data fix. He's a speed freak, an info junkie. —David Brooks, Newsweek, 30 Apr. 2001

  4. Only after I had built to the emotional peroration culminating in the word “astonishing” was I at last sufficiently unastonished by the force of my feelings to be able to put together a couple of hours of sleep—or something resembling sleep, for, even half out of it, I was a biography in perpetual motion, memory to the marrow of my bones. —Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997

  5. The region is in a state of perpetual war.

  6. He seems to have a perpetual grin on his face.

  7. the perpetual demands of parenthood

Origin of perpetual

Middle English perpetuel, from Anglo-French, from Latin perpetuus uninterrupted, from per- through + petere to go to — more at feather

First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of perpetual

continual, continuous, constant, incessant, perpetual, perennial mean characterized by continued occurrence or recurrence. continual often implies a close prolonged succession or recurrence <continual showers the whole weekend>. continuous usually implies an uninterrupted flow or spatial extension <football's oldest continuous rivalry>. constant implies uniform or persistent occurrence or recurrence <lived in constant pain>. incessant implies ceaseless or uninterrupted activity <annoyed by the incessant quarreling>. perpetual suggests unfailing repetition or lasting duration <a land of perpetual snowfall>. perennial implies enduring existence often through constant renewal <a perennial source of controversy>.

Other Seed Plant Terms

PERPETUAL Defined for Kids


adjective per·pet·u·al \pər-ˈpe-chə-wəl\

Definition of perpetual for Students

  1. 1 :  lasting forever or for a very long time <a perpetual memorial>

  2. 2 :  occurring continually :  constant <perpetual arguments>

perpetually adverb

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