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

Under Widbin, the Broncos have been perennial state championship contenders. Emily Horos, azcentral, "All-Arizona lacrosse team, Player of Year finalists, Coach of Year named," 5 June 2019 The Islanders improved their point total every year during Marshall’s six seasons, becoming a perennial contender well before winning a Cup. Geoff Baker, The Seattle Times, "Poulsbo resident, former defenseman Bert Marshall is keeping an eye on Seattle’s NHL decisions," 25 Mar. 2019 Outsiders might look at the Seahawks players who left the team this spring and see a perennial contender in peril. Jamie Lisanti, SI.com, "Fashionable 50," 10 July 2018 Two 2018 World Cup favorites will take the pitch on Sunday, as defending champion Germany and perennial title contenders Brazil play their first games in Russia. USA TODAY, "FIFA World Cup: Schedule, TV time and storylines for Sunday, June 17," 16 June 2018 Mayer has been offered scholarships to play tight end for a veritable who's-who of college football, including perennial national championship contender Alabama plus Ohio State, Notre Dame and Penn State. James Weber, Cincinnati.com, "CovCath's Michael Mayer, ranked nationally with DI offers, focuses on next state title," 11 May 2018 Mary Kubalanza of the Western Springs Garden Club worked on the club’s perennial garden. Diane Dachota, chicagotribune.com, "Volunteer groups pitch in on rainy day for Western Springs spring cleaning," 15 Apr. 2018 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

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

10 Jun 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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