perennial

adjective
pe·​ren·​ni·​al | \ pə-ˈre-nē-əl How to pronounce perennial (audio) \

Definition of perennial

1 : present at all seasons of the year
2 : persisting for several years usually with new herbaceous growth from a perennating part perennial asters
3a : persistent, enduring perennial favorites
b : continuing without interruption : constant, perpetual the perennial quest for certainty a perennial student
c : regularly repeated or renewed : recurrent death is a perennial literary theme

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Other Words from perennial

perennial noun
perennially \ pə-​ˈre-​nē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce perennially (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for perennial

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

Did You Know?

Nowadays when we talk about "perennial plants," or simply "perennials" ("perennial" can be a noun, too), we mean plants that die back seasonally but produce new growth in the spring. But originally "perennial" was equivalent to "evergreen," used for plants that remain with us all year. We took this "throughout the year" sense straight from the Romans, whose Latin perennis combined "per-" ("throughout") with a form of "annus" ("year"). The poet Ovid, writing around the beginning of the first millennium, used the Latin word to refer to a "perennial spring" (water source), and the scholar Pliny used it of birds that don't migrate. Our "perennial" retains these same uses, for streams and occasionally for birds, but it has long had extended meanings, too.

Examples of perennial in a Sentence

The problem … is inherent and perennial in any democracy, but it has been more severe in ours during the past quarter-century because of the near universal denigration of government, politics and politicians. — Michael Kinsley, Time, 29 Oct. 2001 The issue between science and art is of perennial interest to me, since I started off in science in college, in medicine, was headed for psychiatry, and ended up writing novels … — Walker Percy, "The State Of The Novel," 1977, in Signposts in a Strange Land1991 … scientists are warning that a perennial viral threat, the upcoming flu season, could be far more dangerous than usual—more evidence that these tiny foes are responsible for a large share of human suffering. — Claudia Wallis, Time, 3 Nov. 1986 This variety of oregano is perennial. Flooding is a perennial problem for people living by the river.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Take the perennial classic Nightmare at 20,000 Feet, which was reborn as the higher—and less linear—Nightmare at 30,000 Feet in the Peele-helmed Twilight Zone reboot. Chloe Foussianes, Town & Country, "Jordan Peele's Take on The Twilight Zone's "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" Breaks from the Original," 3 Apr. 2019 Here’s everything to know about Reba’s perennial popular tune. Megan Stein, Country Living, "Reba McEntire Shares the Meaning of Her Song 'Fancy' and Why It's Still Popular Today," 3 Apr. 2019 Womenswear perennial Marc Jacobs is on the list, as is menswear favorite Thom Browne, and Off-White’s Virgil Abloh made the cut not once, but twice, but all five of the emerging designer nominees are first-timers. Nicole Phelps, Vogue, "The 2019 CFDA Awards Nominees and Honorees Are Here!," 19 Mar. 2019 One of the women in the triangle is Lady Sarah Churchill (perennial woman crush Rachel Weisz), the Duchess of Marlborough and wife of the Duke of Marlborough, who is always conveniently away at battle. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "What Is The Favourite Movie About? It's a Rom-Com of a Sort," 23 Feb. 2019 Every year, the retailer features a variety of mugs, including popular perennial favorites as well as their latest collection. Jessica Leigh Mattern, Country Living, "Anthropologie's Insanely Popular Monogram Mugs Make the Cutest Christmas Gifts," 26 Nov. 2018 Always in style and incredibly hard-wearing, brick floors are a perennial favorite not just for patios, but in any indoor space where durability is key (think mudrooms, kitchens, and the like). Emma Bazilian, House Beautiful, "An Insanely Easy Way to Get an Antique Brick Floor," 13 Feb. 2019 While the top portion of a perennial dies back in winter, new growth appears the following spring from the same root system. Arricca Sansone, Country Living, "Annuals vs. Perennials: Everything You Need to Know," 1 Feb. 2019 Beyond these shores—and despite a harrowing hurricane season in 2017—resorts in the Caribbean, and on the island of St. Barts in particular are among your perennial favorites. Cnt Editors, Condé Nast Traveler, "How Do the Readers' Choice Awards Work?," 9 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perennial.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of perennial

circa 1660, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for perennial

Latin perennis, from per- throughout + annus year — more at per-, annual

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Statistics for perennial

Last Updated

15 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perennial

The first known use of perennial was circa 1660

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More Definitions for perennial

perennial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of perennial

of a plant : living for several years or for many years : having a life cycle that is more than two years long
: existing or continuing in the same way for a long time
: happening again and again

perennial

adjective
pe·​ren·​ni·​al | \ pə-ˈre-nē-əl How to pronounce perennial (audio) \

Kids Definition of perennial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : present all through the year a perennial stream
2 : living from year to year a perennial plant
3 : never ending : constant perennial joy
4 : happening again and again perennial flooding

perennial

noun

Kids Definition of perennial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a plant that lives from year to year

perennial

adjective
pe·​ren·​ni·​al | \ pə-ˈren-ē-əl How to pronounce perennial (audio) \

Medical Definition of perennial

: present at all seasons of the year perennial rhinitis

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Comments on perennial

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