per·​pet·​u·​al | \ pər-ˈpe-chə-wəl How to pronounce perpetual (audio) , -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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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 Instead, as budgets increasingly roll into deficit spending, policymakers can promote large defense budgets and wage perpetual war without raising taxes or demanding financial sacrifices. Rebecca U. Thorpe, The Conversation, "One budget line Congress can agree on: Spending billions on the US military," 14 Aug. 2019 Earth's fractured outer shell is in perpetual motion. Ben Horton, National Geographic, "What jumpstarted Earth's plate tectonics? New clues point to ancient glaciers.," 5 June 2019 Too Speculative’ Noble Group’s perpetual bonds fell 2.3 cents to 7.3 cents on the dollar by 1:12 p.m. in Singapore on Monday, and headed for the biggest one-day decline since January. Krystal Chia,, "Noble Group Halts Shares as Restructuring Hangs in Balance," 18 June 2018 Providing instruments is a perpetual obstacle, especially in districts with high numbers of low-income students, such as Vista, Kimble said. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Jump-starting arts education with ‘Create 78'," 15 Sep. 2019 As part of its review of perpetual consent decrees -- the ASCAP and BMI ones are nearly 80 years old -- the DOJ called for comments from interested parties and more than 800 commentaries came in by the Aug. 9 deadline. Ed Christman, Billboard, "All Over the Map: Publishers, Writers, Small Towns & Apartment Owners Weigh In On Consent Decree Debate," 13 Sep. 2019 The irony, of course, is that perpetual vulnerability has gifted us — those less American Americans — a lucidity that transcends dollar-store patriotism. Damon Young, Time, "How I Came to View the American Flag as a Threat," 12 Sep. 2019 For a one-time fee, a transaction would give the buyer perpetual access to Huawei’s existing 5G patents, licences, code, technical blueprints and production know-how. The Economist, "Huawei may sell its 5G technology to a Western buyer," 11 Sep. 2019 Slaying the dragon was supposed to kickstart a program stuck in perpetual 7-6 seasons but the bump wouldn’t come until the next few seasons. Michael Casagrande |, al, "The day South Carolina stunned Alabama and set the state ‘on fire’," 10 Sep. 2019

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

21 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for perpetual

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

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More Definitions for perpetual


How to pronounce perpetual (audio)

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 How to pronounce perpetual (audio) \

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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Comments on perpetual

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


not being in agreement or harmony

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