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

Definition of persist

intransitive verb

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

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Other Words from persist

persister noun

Synonyms for persist


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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

Examples of persist in a Sentence

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.
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Recent Examples on the Web The study shows that women in their 20s show higher increases in blood pressure than men of the same age, and that these higher levels persist throughout women’s lives. Halley Bondy, NBC News, "In the know: Women in the news 1/13 -1/17," 17 Jan. 2020 Researchers also reported that some of these mutations persisted and proliferated in the recipients’ bone marrow for at least a year. Andrew Joseph, STAT, "Previously unseen mutations in stem cells of young donors can be passed to recipients, study finds," 15 Jan. 2020 Now recent research, soon to be published in The Astronomical Journal, uses new Hubble observations to check one prediction of that theory—that the ice accumulated during their formation should persist as water in their atmospheres today. Charlie Wood, Popular Science, "These ‘super puff’ planets have the same density as cotton candy," 27 Dec. 2019 Concerns about carbon emissions aside, even proponents of mileage runs are wondering how long the practice will persist. Hannah Sampson, Anchorage Daily News, "Mileage runs are last-minute dashes for airline status, but not everyone thinks they’re worth it," 26 Dec. 2019 An inmate escaped in September and state inspectors noted in their December report that some security issues persist. Adam Ferrise, cleveland, "One year later, Cuyahoga County Jail makes slew of changes after string of inmate deaths," 23 Dec. 2019 Unilever's downbeat sales forecast suggests weakness could persist. Hanna Ziady, CNN, "Unilever warning shows the global economy is still fragile," 17 Dec. 2019 But seven current and former senior corrections officials interviewed by ProPublica said the practice persisted. Ian Macdougall, ProPublica, "New York City Paid McKinsey Millions to Stem Jail Violence. Instead, Violence Soared.," 10 Dec. 2019 Sony and Major League Baseball issued a joint statement on Monday night confirming that their shared license for the series MLB The Show will persist for an indeterminate amount of time. Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica, "Sony announces plan to publish PlayStation games on non-PS consoles [updated]," 9 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'persist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of persist

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for persist

Middle French persister, from Latin persistere, from per- + sistere to take a stand, stand firm; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

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Time Traveler for persist

Time Traveler

The first known use of persist was in 1531

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Statistics for persist

Last Updated

20 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Persist.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for persist


How to pronounce persist (audio) How to pronounce persist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of persist

: to continue to do something or to try to do something even though it is difficult or other people want you to stop
: to continue to occur or exist beyond the usual, expected, or normal time


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

Kids Definition of persist

1 : to keep on doing or saying something : continue stubbornly The reporter persisted with questions.
2 : to last on and on : continue to exist or occur Rain persisted for days.

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More from Merriam-Webster on persist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for persist

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with persist

Spanish Central: Translation of persist

Nglish: Translation of persist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of persist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on persist

What made you want to look up persist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


not to be intimidated or subdued

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