per·​fer·​vid (ˌ)pər-ˈfər-vəd How to pronounce perfervid (audio)
: marked by overwrought or exaggerated emotion : excessively fervent

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The adjectives "fervent," "fervid," and "perfervid" all derive from the Latin verb fervēre, meaning "to boil," and suggest a bubbling up of intense feeling. "Fervent" was the first to enter the English language in the 14th century. It stresses sincerity and steadiness of emotional warmth and zeal, as in "Her colleagues expressed fervent good wishes." The next to emerge was "fervid" in the late 16th century. It too suggests warmth but adds an element of spontaneity and feverishness. A lover might write a fervid billet-doux to his beloved, for example. With its first known appearance in print dating back only to 1833, "perfervid" is a relative newcomer to English, but it implies the most extreme or exaggerated expression of emotion. Its intensity comes from "per-," a prefix meaning "thoroughly."

Choose the Right Synonym for perfervid

impassioned, passionate, ardent, fervent, fervid, perfervid mean showing intense feeling.

impassioned implies warmth and intensity without violence and suggests fluent verbal expression.

an impassioned plea for justice

passionate implies great vehemence and often violence and wasteful diffusion of emotion.

a passionate denunciation

ardent implies an intense degree of zeal, devotion, or enthusiasm.

an ardent supporter of human rights

fervent stresses sincerity and steadiness of emotional warmth or zeal.

fervent good wishes

fervid suggests warmly and spontaneously and often feverishly expressed emotion.

fervid love letters

perfervid implies the expression of exaggerated or overwrought feelings.

perfervid expressions of patriotism

Examples of perfervid in a Sentence

the perfervid prose of a romance novel
Recent Examples on the Web The scant paintings on view reverse an emphasis on figurative imagery in the 2019 Biennial, tilting toward a lately prevalent revival of abstraction in perfervid styles that have yet to demonstrate staying power. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 4 Apr. 2022 This latest controversy won’t dent Thomas’s formidable reputation as a jurist, but it’s another mark against his perfervid critics who have no decency. Rich Lowry, National Review, 1 Apr. 2022 So why, with all this perfervid material at her disposal, did the director, Haifaa Al-Mansour, and her co-screenwriter, Emma Jensen, opt for such cautiousness? Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 May 2018 Down south near San Diego, gray-faced children toil in a slave-labor camp that Dickens could not have imagined in his most perfervid dreams. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 4 Oct. 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'perfervid.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


New Latin perfervidus, from Latin per- thoroughly + fervidus fervid

First Known Use

1833, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of perfervid was in 1833


Dictionary Entries Near perfervid

Cite this Entry

“Perfervid.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

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