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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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

Chelsea seems locked in a perpetual cycle of one season good, one season bad, the endless churn of managers undermining campaign after campaign. Jonathan Wilson,, "Systemic or Specific? Reasons for Premier League Clubs' Champions League Fortunes," 15 Mar. 2018 Trump is the racetrack rabbit that keeps Democrats running in a perpetual cycle of outrage. Rich Lowry, National Review, "Have Democrats Overplayed Their Trump Hand?," 16 Feb. 2018 Robinson Canó​'s season is effectively over, leaving Seattle with few internal options to overcome the All-Star's absence in its perpetual quest to break the longest playoff drought in all of professional North American sports. Jon Tayler,, "Robinson Canó​'s Suspension Just the Latest Cruel Twist for the Playoff-Starved Mariners," 15 May 2018 Whereas children live in this sense of perpetual metaphor. Maria Russo, New York Times, "Tracy K. Smith and Jacqueline Woodson Talk Reading, Race and Spreading the Gospel of Literature," 19 Apr. 2018 One is the board’s continued use of a Depression-era rule that makes unions, once elected, perpetual. Peter Schaumber, WSJ, "How the NLRB Evades the Law—and Can Bring Itself Into Line," 1 Apr. 2018 The billionaire's Palo Alto, Calif., mansion is now patrolled by 16 security guards, because apparently that's how the world-famous Facebook co-founder and CEO rolls in his perpetual quest for privacy. Kim Lachance Shandrow, ELLE Decor, "How Many Bodyguards Does It Take To Protect Mark Zuckerberg's 5-Bedroom Mansion?," 17 Feb. 2016 Award recipients will be honored at a City Council meeting with a perpetual plaque housed at the Encinitas Senior Center. Linda Mcintosh,, "Encinitas looking for Senior of the Year...and more community news," 8 Feb. 2018 The lessee, meanwhile, has a perpetual car payment and no equity. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Car Decisions: Should You Buy or Lease ... or Subscribe?," 30 Jan. 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

25 Mar 2019

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 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).


marked by a state of overwhelming emotion

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