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

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.
Recent Examples on the Web Biden not off the hook with Dems Don't look now, but at least one Democrat hasn't forgotten that questions persist about President Biden's future at the top of the ticket. Avery Lotz, Axios, 14 July 2024 And a growing number of Democrats have called on Biden to withdraw from the race as questions about his age and viability persist. Lawrence Andrea, Journal Sentinel, 13 July 2024 One reason oak is a favored wood for growing shiitakes is that its bark persists for a long time, which helps reduce the invasion of other fungi. Rita Pelczar, Better Homes & Gardens, 13 July 2024 The tree cactus persists elsewhere in the Caribbean, including parts of Cuba and the Bahamas. Dino Grandoni, Washington Post, 13 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for persist 

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 22 Jul. 2024.

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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