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 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" (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 Michigan State, a struggling perennial power, lost by 30 points at Rutgers in its first game in 20 days after a three-game hiatus. Marcus Fuller, Star Tribune, "Gophers men's basketball had momentum — and then came a COVID pause out of its control," 3 Feb. 2021 The battle is perennial and victory is never assured. Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY, "'Politics doesn't have to be a raging fire:' Read President Joe Biden's inaugural address," 20 Jan. 2021 Modern land managers judiciously apply fire to control invasive plants and to promote the growth of both annual and perennial plants. Andrew Mckean, Outdoor Life, "Aldo Leopold’s 5 Essentials for Wildlife and Habitat Management," 17 Sep. 2020 Meanwhile, Wiseman has a chance to be a perennial All-Star. Connor Letourneau, San Francisco Chronicle, "Warriors mailbag: Why they made the right call drafting James Wiseman at No. 2," 6 Feb. 2021 Some perennial participants, like Budweiser, have opted out of their usual slots, choosing social media as a more understated way to get pitches across. John Branch, New York Times, "Staging the Big Game During a Big Crisis," 4 Feb. 2021 Thomas Newman and Alexandre Desplat, perennial Oscar contenders for best original score, could land their 15th and 12th nominations, respectively, in the category. Paul Grein, Billboard, "Early Oscar Predictions: Best Song and Score Contenders," 29 Jan. 2021 Cool season perennial weeds, such as dollarweed and clover are more competitive with the lawn. Dan Gill, NOLA.com, "Some cool season weeds can be handled by mowing, but others will need some treatment," 27 Jan. 2021 The absence of Budweiser — and fellow Super Bowl regulars Coke, Hyundai and Pepsi — will leave this year's broadcast without several of the perennial contenders in USA TODAY's Ad Meter, which ranks Super Bowl commercials by consumer rating. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, "Budweiser becomes latest Super Bowl commercial stalwart to sit out this year's broadcast," 25 Jan. 2021

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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Time Traveler for perennial

Time Traveler

The first known use of perennial was circa 1660

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Statistics for perennial

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Perennial.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perennial. Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

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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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