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 With skepticism persisting about green bonds, getting people to trust that a transition bond is a solution, not just a marketing trick, may be tough. Washington Post, "How ‘Transition Bonds’ Can Help Polluters Turn Green," 18 Sep. 2019 The same struggles persisted against Seattle on Sunday. Mike Jones, USA TODAY, "Opinion: Steelers' Mike Tomlin faces ultimate test after Ben Roethlisberger's injury," 16 Sep. 2019 As the California Legislature churned toward adjournment last week, its members received another reminder that the state’s most vexing — and shameful — socioeconomic malady persists. Dan Walters, The Mercury News, "Walters: California is still No. 1 in poverty," 15 Sep. 2019 Garcetti was elected mayor after running a campaign focused on reforming the DWP, but controversies have persisted at the utility during his two terms. Dakota Smith, Los Angeles Times, "DWP, reeling from scandals and FBI raids, gets a new watchdog office," 13 Sep. 2019 The festival marks yet another example of CBD’s growing popularity in the region, despite persisting questions of its legality that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not yet resolved. Hallie Miller,, "Power Plant Live! to hold ‘CBD-inspired’ food festival amid questions of substance’s legality," 13 Sep. 2019 If lameness is severe, suddenly worse, associated with bleeding, or persists for more than 24 hours, it should be considered an emergency situation. Texas A&m University, Houston Chronicle, "PET TALK: Recognizing a pet emergency," 13 Sep. 2019 The physical building closed in 2008, but persisted as an online museum. Talis Shelbourne, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "America's Black Holocaust Museum has a new CEO ahead of its fall 2019 reopening," 13 Sep. 2019 Concerns about the corners may persist again given 35-year-old Johnathan Joseph’s lack of speed and ex-Bronco Bradley Roby’s history of ups and downs. Andy Benoit,, "Previewing Saints-Texans, Broncos-Raiders on Monday Night Football," 9 Sep. 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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Statistics for persist

Last Updated

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for persist

The first known use of persist was in 1531

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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

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