per·​se·​vere ˌpər-sə-ˈvir How to pronounce persevere (audio)
persevered; persevering

intransitive verb

: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement
perseveringly adverb

Did you know?

The early settlers of the New World persevered in the face of constant hardship and danger. The Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation lost half their number in the first winter to disease and hunger, but their perseverance paid off, and within five years their community was healthy and self-sufficient. Perhaps more remarkable are all the solitary inventors who have persevered in pursuing their visions for years, lacking any financial support and laughed at by the public.

Examples of persevere in a Sentence

She persevered in her studies and graduated near the top of her class. Even though he was tired, he persevered and finished the race.
Recent Examples on the Web Fantasia Barrino spoke about the need to persevere through adversity at Variety‘s Power of Women Presented by Lifetime. Breanna Bell, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 But sustaining that momentum may test both leaders’ ability to persevere in the face of challenging political and economic dynamics in Beijing. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 17 Aug. 2023 PepsiCo management opposed the strategy, fended off a potential proxy war, and managed to persevere in early 2015. Sheryl Estrada, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2023 Chase had to persevere through his own setbacks after going on to Cal, getting benched as a redshirt freshman before winning the starting job anew. Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times, 3 Nov. 2023 Following the game, the hitmaker spoke with the Canadiens team, giving them advice on how to persevere and maintain their health, in addition to shaking hands and posing for photos. Starr Bowenbank, Billboard, 1 Nov. 2023 Davis is confident that Miss Piggy's recovery will inspire others to persevere when things seem impossible. Kelli Bender, Peoplemag, 20 Oct. 2023 The uplifting title track, written by Starr and engineer Bruce Sugar, sums up Starr’s message of believing love and peace can change the world and persevering during challenging times. Melinda Newman, Billboard, 13 Oct. 2023 But despite women's current struggles in pursuing STEM education and careers, historically, there have always been women who persevered in these areas. Allison Futterman, Discover Magazine, 6 Oct. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English perseveren, borrowed from Anglo-French parseverer, perseverer "to last, endure, persist in spite of opposition," borrowed from Latin persevērāre "to persist in a course of action or an attitude in spite of opposition, keep on, (of a condition) continue, last," from per- per- + -sevērāre, verbal derivative of sevērus "stern, austere, severe"

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of persevere was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near persevere

Cite this Entry

“Persevere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


per·​se·​vere ˌpər-sə-ˈvi(ə)r How to pronounce persevere (audio)
persevered; persevering
: to keep at something in spite of difficulties, opposition, or discouragement

More from Merriam-Webster on persevere

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