Definition of perennial
1 : present at all seasons of the year
3a : persistent, enduring perennial favoritesb : continuing without interruption : constant, perpetual the perennial quest for certainty a perennial studentc : regularly repeated or renewed : recurrent death is a perennial literary theme
perenniallyplay \-nē-ə-lē\ adverb
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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
… 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
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 Land, 1991
This variety of oregano is perennial.
Flooding is a perennial problem for people living by the river.
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.
Synonym Discussion of perennial
PERENNIAL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of perennial for English Language Learners
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 Defined for Kids
Definition of perennial for Students
: a plant that lives from year to year
Word Root of perennial
The Latin word annus, meaning “year,” gives us the root ann or enn. Words from the Latin annus have something to do with a year. Anything that is annual happens once a year and anything biennial happens once every two years. An anniversary is the return every year of the date on which something special happened. Something perennial continues all year long or comes back each year.
Medical Definition of perennial
: present at all seasons of the year perennial rhinitis
Learn More about perennial
See words that rhyme with perennial Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for perennial Spanish Central: Translation of perennial Nglish: Translation of perennial for Spanish speakers Britannica English: Translation of perennial for Arabic speakers Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about perennial
Seen and Heard
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