per·​pet·​u·​al | \pər-ˈpe-chə-wəl, -chəl;-ˈpech-wəl\

Definition of perpetual 

1a : continuing forever : everlasting perpetual motion

b(1) : valid for all time a perpetual right

(2) : holding something (such as an office) for life or for an unlimited time

2 : occurring continually : indefinitely long-continued perpetual problems

3 : blooming continuously throughout the season

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Other Words from perpetual

perpetually adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for perpetual

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

Examples of perpetual in a Sentence

As always, I was struck by how the core values of the military—service and discipline, both physical and intellectual—are so different from the perpetual American Mardi Gras. — Joe Klein, Time, 29 Aug. 2005 Because Hunter had been a perpetual Peter Pan, accepting the bleak reality of his death came hard. — Douglas Brinkley, Rolling Stone, 22 Sept. 2005 He's addicted to the perpetual flux of the information networks. He craves his next data fix. He's a speed freak, an info junkie. — David Brooks, Newsweek, 30 Apr. 2001 Only after I had built to the emotional peroration culminating in the word "astonishing" was I at last sufficiently unastonished by the force of my feelings to be able to put together a couple of hours of sleep—or something resembling sleep, for, even half out of it, I was a biography in perpetual motion, memory to the marrow of my bones. — Philip Roth, American Pastoral, 1997 The region is in a state of perpetual war. He seems to have a perpetual grin on his face. the perpetual demands of parenthood
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Recent Examples on the Web

This political shift happened as a number of trends coalesced: more spouses had careers back home, campaigning meant participating in perpetual fundraisers, and long-distance commuting became the norm. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has a point about housing for Congress," 21 Nov. 2018 Broderick focuses on the symbiosis between internet media, which excels at promoting a sense of perpetual crisis and outrage, and far-right leaders who promise a return to normalcy. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why social media is friend to far-right politicians around the world," 30 Oct. 2018 Ethics groups have to raise money to keep going, so their need to find blame is perpetual. Bruce K. Chapman, WSJ, "Caesar’s Wife and the Politics of Destruction," 27 Sep. 2018 Only by exhuming it and addressing it can America address its perpetual crisis with race. Joe Heim, Washington Post, "Sacred ground, now reclaimed: A Charlottesville story," 7 July 2018 Along with staff cuts, the company is transitioning from perpetual software licenses to software subscriptions and cloud computing services. Jenna Lyons, San Francisco Chronicle, "Autodesk lays off 108 employees in San Francisco," 2 Feb. 2018 Reality, however, did not fit the agenda of scare-mongering environmentalists and regulators who need a perpetual crisis to justify their existence. Michelle Malkin, National Review, "Big Brother on America’s Fishing Boats," 17 Jan. 2018 At worst they’re weapons for our kids’ perpetual pillow fights. Caroline Picard, Good Housekeeping, "How to Build Your Best Bed Ever," 26 Oct. 2018 As a Republican governor, Johnson vetoed more than 700 bills in perpetual standoffs with a Legislature run by Democrats, vetoing the entire budget in his final year only to have legislators override him. Morgan Lee, The Seattle Times, "Libertarian says Trump, Democrats need a swing-vote senator," 9 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perpetual.' 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 perpetual

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for perpetual

Middle English perpetuel, from Anglo-French, from Latin perpetuus uninterrupted, from per- through + petere to go to — more at feather

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Statistics for perpetual

Last Updated

2 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perpetual

The first known use of perpetual was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for perpetual



English Language Learners Definition of perpetual

: continuing forever or for a very long time without stopping

: happening all the time or very often


per·​pet·​u·​al | \pər-ˈpe-chə-wəl \

Kids Definition of perpetual

1 : lasting forever or for a very long time a perpetual memorial

2 : occurring continually : constant perpetual arguments

Other Words from perpetual

perpetually adverb

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