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

This move from private to public life raises three perennial problems. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Freedom of Belief Bridges America’s Divides," 11 Dec. 2018 And in the past, lice infestations were a perennial problem in western Alaska, noted state historian Jo Antonson. Rachel D'oro, The Seattle Times, "Alaska town seeks to remove ‘Lousetown’ nickname from code," 10 Sep. 2018 High water is a perennial problem in the 21st century Everglades, where the drainage and water needs of urban South Florida have at various times inundated and dried out the marshes. David Fleshler, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Gov. Scott order on Lake Okeechobee water aims to prevent repeat of algae catastrophe," 21 June 2018 The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the flooding of chemicals resulting from recent hurricanes, and the dead zone funneling out of the Mississippi River have all taken a toll, but plastics are a perennial problem both in the Gulf and worldwide. Thomas Leavy, CBS News, "Florida brewery unveils six-pack rings that spare sea turtles, not snare them," 24 May 2018 Even with the Pixel 2's release, though, the Pixel 1's perennial stock problems remained, and the phones were never readily available in Google's Store. Ron Amadeo, Ars Technica, "Google stops selling the Pixel and Pixel XL," 11 Apr. 2018 The franchise matured into a perennial contender, and for more than a decade Washington has been one of the N.H.L.’s top teams, winning its division eight times in 11 seasons and making 10 postseason appearances over all in that span. Ben Shpigel, New York Times, "The Washington Capitals, After Years of Frustration, Win the Stanley Cup," 7 June 2018 Brian Kelleher is 3-1 in the UFC with wins over former champion Renan Barao and perennial contender Iuri Alcantara. Todd Martin, latimes.com, "Mackenzie Dern vs. Amanda Cooper live round-by-round coverage," 12 May 2018 Just look at how many perennial playoff teams have crumbled in their wake. Ben Golliver, SI.com, "West Finals Preview: Dynasty-Seeking Warriors Face Toughest Test Yet in Rockets?," 11 May 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

13 May 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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