per·​sist pər-ˈsist How to pronounce persist (audio) -ˈzist How to pronounce persist (audio)
persisted; persisting; persists

intransitive verb

: to go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning
obsolete : to remain unchanged or fixed in a specified character, condition, or position
: to be insistent in the repetition or pressing of an utterance (such as a question or an opinion)
: to continue to exist especially past a usual, expected, or normal time
persister noun
Choose the Right Synonym for persist

continue, last, endure, abide, persist mean to exist over a period of time or indefinitely.

continue applies to a process going on without ending.

the search for peace will continue

last, especially when unqualified, may stress existing beyond what is normal or expected.

buy shoes that will last

endure adds an implication of resisting destructive forces or agencies.

in spite of everything, her faith endured

abide implies stable and constant existing especially as opposed to mutability.

a love that abides through 40 years of marriage

persist suggests outlasting the normal or appointed time and often connotes obstinacy or doggedness.

the sense of guilt persisted

Example Sentences

She had turned him down for a date before, but he persisted and asked her again. The reporter persisted with his questioning. If you persist with this behavior, you will be punished. Must you persist in making that noise? If the pain persists, see a doctor. Doubts about the defendant's story have persisted for some time now. Rumors persist that they are dating. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Although current global conditions look unfavorable to the ringgit, Maybank doesn’t expect headwinds to persist until year-end. WSJ, 2 June 2023 But breakup rumors persisted, and accelerated last May when Offset and Cardi unfollowed the other group members on social media after Quavo and Takeoff announced a duo project that didn’t include him. Jem Aswad, Variety, 24 May 2023 Such reactions are normal following traumatic events, but if the behaviors persist and disrupt children’s day-to-day, that’s when Wiginton suggests reaching out for help. Valeria Olivares, Dallas News, 12 May 2023 In blood tests, all eight responders made T-cells against their tumors, and those have persisted for at least two years despite a followup course of chemotherapy. Brenda Goodman, CNN, 10 May 2023 In the heat of a tightening market, Burger King is set to close up to 400 locations across the United States this year as concerns of recession persist. Asher Notheis, Washington Examiner, 5 May 2023 Humidity and heat should continue to rise throughout the week, with Tuesday and Wednesday temperatures expected to reach the mid-80s with sunny skies persisting, according to Berger. Michael Murney, Chron, 1 May 2023 All over the world, there are places where rumors persist and modern day ghost hunters come armed to the teeth with gadgets — motion detectors, electromagnetic field meters, air ion counters — looking for definitive proof of the paranormal in some of the world's most storied forests. Bree Sposato, Travel + Leisure, 28 Apr. 2023 But though the next few months will see the bulk of the melt, the depth and density of the snowpack means flows could persist into fall, according to state water supply forecasts. Los Angeles Times, 27 Apr. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'persist.' 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 French persister, from Latin persistere, from per- + sistere to take a stand, stand firm; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

First Known Use

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of persist was in 1531

Dictionary Entries Near persist

Cite this Entry

“Persist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jun. 2023.

Kids Definition


per·​sist pər-ˈsist How to pronounce persist (audio) -ˈzist How to pronounce persist (audio)
: to continue to do something in spite of opposition, warnings, or pleas : persevere
: to last on and on : continue to exist
persister noun

More from Merriam-Webster on persist

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