in·​sist | \ in-ˈsist \
insisted; insisting; insists

Definition of insist

intransitive verb

1 : to be emphatic, firm, or resolute about something intended, demanded, or required they insist on going
2 archaic : persist

transitive verb

: to maintain in a persistent or positive manner insisted that the story was true

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Examples of insist in a Sentence

I didn't want to go, but she insisted. “Come on, let's go.” “Oh, all right, if you insist.” She insists the money is hers.
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Recent Examples on the Web

As a result, the Big Little Lies star went on to insist that her own naked picture was run as the main magazine cover in honor of Bonet. Lucy Wood, Marie Claire, "Zoe Kravitz Posed Naked in 'Rolling Stone' to Honor Her Mom's Iconic Cover," 29 Oct. 2018 Flake previously had insisted that Ford be allowed to testify before an up-or-down vote on Kavanaugh. Gregg Re, Fox News, "After tumultuous Kavanaugh hearing, swing-vote senators weigh judge's fate: 'It's a tough one'," 1 Oct. 2018 So by insisting instead on January, Trump would be pulling the rug out from under that deal. Heather Souvaine Horn, The New Republic, "Is It Fair for Trump to Bash NATO Over Military Spending?," 12 July 2018 Those systems' lifespans have been extended to some extent by mid-generation upgrades in the form of the Xbox One X and PlayStation 4 Pro, and Sony has insisted that its next console is a few years off. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sony is skipping E3 2019," 15 Nov. 2018 Mr Kavanaugh has insisted that judges must always put party politics aside. The Economist, "Brett Kavanaugh could shape the law for the next 40 years," 12 July 2018 For its part, Moscow denies violating the treaty, while insisting that the U.S. itself has violated the treaty. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why the U.S. Is Quitting a Key Nuclear Weapons Treaty," 5 Dec. 2018 Others involved in the talks, though, said the U.S. would insist on a 90-day period. Vivian Salama, WSJ, "Trump Names Lighthizer to Run U.S.-China Negotiations," 3 Dec. 2018 Word had reached her of William’s visits to Isabella, and Kate insisted that William was not to contact her again. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Who Is Isabella Calthorpe? What You Need to Know About Prince William's Rumored Former Crush," 23 Sep. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'insist.' 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 insist

1586, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for insist

Middle French or Latin; Middle French insister, from Latin insistere to stand upon, persist, from in- + sistere to take a stand; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

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Statistics for insist

Last Updated

20 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for insist

The first known use of insist was in 1586

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More Definitions for insist



English Language Learners Definition of insist

: to demand that something happen or that someone do something

: to say (something) in a way that is very forceful and does not allow disagreement


in·​sist | \ in-ˈsist \
insisted; insisting

Kids Definition of insist

1 : to make a demand I didn't want to go, but she insisted.
2 : to say (something) in a forceful way that doesn't allow for disagreement She insists the money is hers.
insist on also insist upon
: to express or show a belief in the importance of something He insists on doing it his way.

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More from Merriam-Webster on insist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with insist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for insist

Spanish Central: Translation of insist

Nglish: Translation of insist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of insist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on insist

What made you want to look up insist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to gather or build up little by little

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