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 About 20 of those books persist in a Ziploc bag in my daughter's room in Brooklyn. Seija Rankin,, "What's in a Page: The Flight Portfolio author Julie Orringer writes best at other people's desks," 2 July 2020 Jammed machines, wrongful recording, and confusing designs persist, as do widespread attempts to influence elections, suppress voters, and manipulate districts in order to diminish the electoral power of certain communities. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "The history of the US ballot is a fascinating journey through the making of a democracy," 2 July 2020 This act of racial violence serves as a timely reminder of the racial inequalities that persist for black people around the world, African diasporas being no exception. Alana Dillette, Quartz Africa, "How a “roots tourism” visit to Ghana was an awakening for social justice in the United States," 28 June 2020 But problems persist in navigating accounting standards. Mark Maurer, WSJ, "Russell Golden Leaves FASB With Streamlined Standards, Lingering Rule Questions," 28 June 2020 Instead, auditing is an example of what economists call a market failure—one that will persist for as long as auditors continue to be paid by the companies whose books they are supposed to be scrutinizing. Jeremy Kahn, Fortune, "Wirecard shows auditing is broken. Here’s why—and how to fix it," 25 June 2020 If those trends persist, Trump will need to run up large margins in the state’s predominantly blue collar, overwhelmingly white northeast, where Baldwin also made inroads, analysts say. Washington Post, "Trump homes in on Wisconsin as advisers fear Michigan may be Biden’s to lose," 25 June 2020 News headlines focus on police violence directed at African Americans, but historic racial disparities and the still-lingering effects of slavery and segregation persist visibly in many economic indicators. Russ Wiles, The Arizona Republic, "Homeownership gap among many economic disparities facing Black Arizonans," 24 June 2020 Between the town suspending business loan payments and some partial reopening efforts, the businesses have managed to persist through a difficult situation, according to the mayor. Jarrad Saffren, USA TODAY, "Mount Holly continues to improve High Street business district," 20 June 2020

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

10 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Persist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 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

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