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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web But he at least stopped short of predicting the Tigers would win the SEC, which would also involve knocking off perennial powerhouses Alabama, LSU and Auburn., "New Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success," 10 Dec. 2019 That includes its 77-73 loss to perennial New York City powerhouse Christ The King on the Firebirds' home floor at HoopHall West on Thursday night. Dana Scott, azcentral, "How Chaparral and Greenway coaches manage their marriage, top basketball, golf and volleyball teams," 6 Dec. 2019 Mervo put up a fight against Linganore, a perennial state football powerhouse, but the Mustangs came up a bit short Friday night. Jeff Seidel,, "Mervo comes up short against powerful Linganore, 27-25, in Class 3A state semifinals," 29 Nov. 2019 In Week 8, Rouge played perennial powerhouse Novi Detroit Catholic Central, famous for its punishing defense. Mick Mccabe, Detroit Free Press, "River Rouge football's De'Andre Bulley honors dad's memory; 'they call me Jerome Bettis'," 28 Nov. 2019 The Delray Beach club punched its ticket to the big game by defeating perennial powerhouse, the Pembroke Pines Optimist Bengals 14-0. Emmett Hall,, "Plantation Wildcats celebrate Super Bowl victory over Delray Rocks," 26 Nov. 2019 Programs such as Riverdale, Shelbyville, and Mount Juliet were perennial powerhouses, and Riverdale was named the MaxPreps and ESPN national champion in 2013. Alexa Philippou,, "UConn’s Crystal Dangerfield returns to where it all began in homecoming game against Vanderbilt," 13 Nov. 2019 Hired a few months ago to clean up former general manager Paul Fenton’s mess, Guerin has lauded how the Twin Cities market has everything necessary to be a perennial powerhouse. Dane Mizutani, Twin Cities, "Wild GM Bill Guerin willing to keep team’s window open … for now," 12 Nov. 2019 Up next is a road trip to face perennial 3A powerhouse Palisade at Colorado Mesa’s Ralph Stocker Stadium in Grand Junction. Marco Cummings, The Denver Post, "Green Mountain’s Jesse German looking to revive football program with renewed traditions," 12 Sep. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about perennial

Time Traveler for perennial

Time Traveler

The first known use of perennial was circa 1660

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast about perennial

Statistics for perennial

Last Updated

7 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Perennial.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for perennial


How to pronounce perennial (audio)

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


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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on perennial

What made you want to look up perennial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


showing steady, earnest care and effort

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Intact Latin Quiz

  • roman tablet
  • What did focus mean in Latin?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!