perpetuity

noun

per·​pe·​tu·​i·​ty ˌpər-pə-ˈtü-ə-tē How to pronounce perpetuity (audio)
-ˈtyü-
plural perpetuities
1
2
: the quality or state of being perpetual
bequeathed to them in perpetuity
3
a
: the condition of an estate limited so that it will not take effect or vest within the period fixed by law
b
: an estate so limited
4
: an annuity payable forever

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Continual existence—that elusive philosophical concept is reflected in perpetuity, which traces to Latin perpetuus, an adjective meaning "continual" or "uninterrupted." The word has specific legal use. It can refer, for example, to an arrangement in a will rendering land forever incapable of being surrendered or transferred (or at least, for a period longer than is set by rules against such arrangements) or to an annuity that is payable forever.

Examples of perpetuity in a Sentence

lands that should remain in their wild state in perpetuity
Recent Examples on the Web That’s why professionals like Dr. Traci Williams, a clinical psychologist, assistant professor at the Emory University School of Medicine, and Certified Financial Therapist™, will enjoy gainful employment into perpetuity. Tim Maurer, Forbes, 11 Feb. 2024 In: Musical numbers with rewatch value Something the Tonys know: The best way to make your program live in perpetuity is to do a musical number that people will rewatch. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 9 Jan. 2024 See all Example Sentences for perpetuity 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'perpetuity.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Middle English perpetuite, from Anglo-French perpetuité, from Latin perpetuitat-, perpetuitas, from perpetuus

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of perpetuity was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near perpetuity

Cite this Entry

“Perpetuity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perpetuity. Accessed 13 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

perpetuity

noun
per·​pe·​tu·​ity
ˌpər-pə-ˈt(y)ü-ət-ē
plural perpetuities
1
: perpetual existence
2
: endless time : eternity

Legal Definition

perpetuity

noun
per·​pe·​tu·​i·​ty ˌpər-pə-ˈtü-ə-tē, -ˈtyü- How to pronounce perpetuity (audio)
plural perpetuities
1
: the quality, state, or duration of being perpetual
devised to them in perpetuity
2
a
: the condition of a future estate limited in such a way as not to vest within the period fixed by law for the vesting of an estate
also : a limitation that gives rise to such a situation
b
: an estate that will not vest within the period fixed by law see also rule against perpetuities, statutory rule against perpetuities
3
: an annuity payable forever

More from Merriam-Webster on perpetuity

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