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

Other Words from perennial

perennial noun
perennially \ pə-​ˈre-​nē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce perennial (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" (a 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.
Recent Examples on the Web Lewis, 64, who grew up in Orlando, is a perennial candidate has run for several positions before — from state attorney general to mayor of Fort Lauderdale — and lost every race. Jeffrey Schweers, Orlando Sentinel, 21 July 2022 Outspoken and colorful perennial candidate Robin Ficker and attorney Joe Werner round out the Republican field. Erin Cox, Washington Post, 18 July 2022 On opening day, the Guardians signed their perennial all-star and MVP candidate to a seven-year $141 million contract extension. Jim Ingraham, Forbes, 12 July 2022 For the Republicans, perennial candidate Robin Ficker reported having $327,000 after personally lending his campaign about $1.2 million. Sam Janesch, Baltimore Sun, 5 July 2022 His campaign appeared to try to elevate the primary profile of Republican John Briscoe, a school district trustee and perennial candidate. Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, 7 June 2022 Remarkably, only once in his career has the perennial MVP candidate had the highest NBA salary, according to a Fortune analysis of ESPN’s NBA salary tracker. Andrew Marquardt, Fortune, 3 June 2022 Republican perennial candidate Gerardo Serrano also filed a recount petition in Jackson Circuit for his 5th District congressional run, despite losing 82% to 6% and by more than 68,000 votes to Rep. Hal Rogers. Joe Sonka, The Courier-Journal, 3 June 2022 Donovan Mitchell has led the team with 25.9 points per game, and Rudy Gobert, a perennial candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, has averaged 15.6 points, 14.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. New York Times, 16 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for perennial

Time Traveler

The first known use of perennial was circa 1660

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Dictionary Entries Near perennial



perennial canker

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Last Updated

30 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Perennial.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for perennial


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



Kids Definition of perennial (Entry 2 of 2)

: a plant that lives from year to year


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

More from Merriam-Webster on perennial

Nglish: Translation of perennial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perennial for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about perennial


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