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 Then have a relentless pursuit to get better and to persevere. Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune, 15 Sep. 2023 But the poem is a tribute to persevering in the face of hardship and criticism, and Biles is no stranger to that. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, 26 Aug. 2023 The ability to persevere even when things do not go according to plan is an important one in organic, sustainable gardening. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 25 Aug. 2023 As a result, these democracies were able to persevere through recurring crises and face down existential threats. Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 The crew persevered in hot weather and restored the original look from the early 1940s. Mary Jane Brewer, cleveland, 21 Aug. 2023 Despite governmental opposition and legal challenges, artists and activists persevered. Pouya Afshar, The Conversation, 30 Aug. 2023 Wong persevered; her individuality and style still inspire today. Staff, The Christian Science Monitor, 28 Aug. 2023 The companies involved in the project — established in 2019 by the Joyce Foundation and the Logan Center for the Arts at the University of Chicago — have all persevered in the face of significant disparities in funding. Emma R. Cohen, New York Times, 28 Aug. 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 22 Sep. 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

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