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 Population drops as severe as the one that has taken place in Florida mean the cacti's perpetuity is not guaranteed. Shannon McDonagh, Newsweek, 10 July 2024 Ronald Reagan’s Library Legacy Archival material shows the hefty and careful investment the president and his team put into crafting his image for perpetuity. JSTOR Daily, 24 June 2024 Nandor’s wistfulness is born of his bone-deep belief that something is missing from his perpetuity, and these moments emphasize how Nandor being from a place that no longer exists is key to his dispossession. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 15 Feb. 2024 National leaders do not remain in place for perpetuity. Philip H. Gordon, Foreign Affairs, 10 Jan. 2020 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 22 Jul. 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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