per·​sist | \pər-ˈsist, -ˈzist \
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


carry on, persevere

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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

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

As John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck demonstrate in their new book Identity Crisis, this tax has persisted during Trump’s presidency. Seth Masket, Vox, "What the “Trump tax” cost Republicans," 9 Nov. 2018 This disease has been around for so long that Hippocrates described a series of such fevers that struck the city of Thasos in the wake of an especially harsh winter, and outbreaks have persisted through last century. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Ancient DNA reveals the secrets of a devastating European disease," 26 Sep. 2018 The protests have persisted since late March, driven in large part by the desperation of living under the blockade. Fox News, "Gaza protests escalate after deal to ease blockade fails," 19 Sep. 2018 Vincent Sparks of Mullica Hill has benefited from genetic testing, but his mental health issues have persisted. Courtenay Harris Bond,, "Which antidepressant is right for you? This genetic test could help," 11 July 2018 Gareth Southgate has persisted in playing the City ace alongside Harry Kane in the forward line, with the former Liverpool academy graduate switching between a supporting role and attempting to find space in behind., "90min World Cup Fan Diaries: How a Subtle Change Could Turn England From Dreamers to Conquerors," 4 July 2018 Hot and humid conditions have persisted for days across southeast Wisconsin. Sarah Hauer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Thousands lose power as severe storms hit southeast Wisconsin," 1 July 2018 The Hornets chose not to trade Walker at the deadline, but rumors have persisted. Rick Bonnell, charlotteobserver, "Hornets' Kemba Walker hears trade rumors, says he has a strategy for dealing with them," 29 June 2018 Modifications of it have persisted for much of the country’s history since then. The Economist, "China wants eyes and ears on every street," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for persist

Last Updated

8 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for persist

The first known use of persist was in 1531

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More Definitions for persist



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 \
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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with persist

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for persist

Spanish Central: Translation of persist

Nglish: Translation of persist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of persist for Arabic Speakers

Comments on persist

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