adjective per·pet·u·al \ pər-ˈpe-chə-wəl , -chəl ; -ˈpech-wəl \
|Updated on: 12 Aug 2018

Definition of perpetual

1 a : 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



Examples of perpetual in a Sentence

  1. 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 KleinTime29 Aug. 2005
  2. Because Hunter had been a perpetual Peter Pan, accepting the bleak reality of his death came hard. —Douglas BrinkleyRolling Stone22 Sept. 2005
  3. 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 BrooksNewsweek30 Apr. 2001
  4. 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 RothAmerican Pastoral1997
  5. The region is in a state of perpetual war.

  6. He seems to have a perpetual grin on his face.

  7. the perpetual demands of parenthood

Recent Examples of perpetual from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of perpetual

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

Other Seed Plant Terms

PERPETUAL Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of perpetual for English Language Learners

  • : continuing forever or for a very long time without stopping

  • : happening all the time or very often

PERPETUAL Defined for Kids


adjective per·pet·u·al \ pər-ˈpe-chə-wəl \

Definition of perpetual for Students

1 : lasting forever or for a very long time
  • a perpetual memorial
2 : occurring continually : constant
  • perpetual arguments



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excessive admiration or flattery

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