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

Keep scrolling for more

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
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The episode showed in many ways how the battles of the 1960s and early 1970s morphed into America’s perpetual civil wars. Will Bunch,, "Borked!! GOP's long game finally bringing nightmare of Robert Bork's America to Supreme Court | Will Bunch," 28 June 2018 My hometown, Orlando, is a city devastated by perpetual and deadly gun violence. Malavika Kannan, Harper's BAZAAR, "I’m 17 Years Old and I'm Afraid For My Life," 19 Apr. 2018 Then there is the perpetual problem of how to allocate scarce resources, or determining which chronically homeless gets a spot in the new facility. Hank Beckman,, "First clients ready to move into La Grange BEDS Plus facility for chronically homeless," 16 Apr. 2018 Separately, perpetual bondholders are being offered a few cents on the dollar. Fortune, "Noble Group Warns Losses May Near $5 Billion as It Pursues a Deal," 18 Feb. 2018 Competing cable channels give each view ample airtime, and American politics seems lost in the fog of perpetual war. Ian Bremmer, Time, "Aside From Twitter, Trump Has Mostly Governed Like a Garden-Variety Republican," 11 Jan. 2018 But their perpetual attempts to pull the game’s narrative in their favor only seems natural. Alejandro Chacoff, The Atlantic, "Soccer Has No Interest in Fairness," 12 July 2018 The reverend who leads the local church, locked in perpetual mourning after an accident took the lives of four local teens, instills that cutting edge dancing and music are unlawful. Karie Angell Luc,, "Wilmette's high energy 'Footloose' production shares message of empowering teens," 12 July 2018 So far, spirulina remains the food of the perpetual future. The Economist, "The future of food, served up right here in augmented reality," 7 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about perpetual

Statistics for perpetual

Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perpetual

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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).


lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!