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

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 See More
Recent Examples on the Web Meanwhile, a steady drip of ceremony news has kept Oscar enthusiasts in a perpetual state of high dudgeon. Michael Schulman, The New Yorker, 25 Mar. 2022 Melissa Errico is someone who appears to be in perpetual motion. Irene S. Levine, Forbes, 1 May 2022 But vigorous pushback from industry and perpetual stalling by the agency have stagnated efforts to ban its use. Harry Rhodes, STAT, 19 Apr. 2022 Thanks to her wardrobe, Kim Kardashian has become a perpetual chameleon. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 19 Apr. 2022 Rather, its entries accumulate to tell a story about accumulation—of pages, prizes, lovers, real estate, renown—and about the perpetual inadequacy of accumulation. The New Yorker, 18 Apr. 2022 Like Elliott Gould in that picture, Lyonne’s Nadia moves through life as if at a perpetual incline, terminally laid back, the cigarette dangling from her lips occasionally jerking upward to register either cool surprise or cool amusement. Philippa Snow, The New Republic, 18 Apr. 2022 Roberts and his fellow baseball leaders use Jackie Robinson Day to spotlight the perpetual fight toward equality for all races while embracing the sport's importance in driving social change. Greg Beacham, ajc, 16 Apr. 2022 The perpetual growth paradigm is one the world might no longer allow. Frank Van Gansbeke, Forbes, 15 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for perpetual

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near perpetual



perpetual adoration

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Statistics for perpetual

Last Updated

16 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Perpetual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for perpetual


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

More from Merriam-Webster on perpetual

Nglish: Translation of perpetual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perpetual for Arabic Speakers


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