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

Example Sentences

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Rivian officials prepared shareholders for continuing supply chain issues, which the company expects to persist this year. Zachary Hansen, ajc, 1 Mar. 2023 Dell will cut its workforce amid an industrywide slump in personal computer shipments that began in 2022 and is expected to persist until 2024. Will Feuer, WSJ, 6 Feb. 2023 Whether the chemicals persist in the environment long enough to be markers of the Anthropocene remains to be determined. Damian Carrington, WIRED, 14 Jan. 2023 La Niña is expected to persist through the winter, which typically causes the jet stream – upper-level winds that carry storms around the globe – to shift northward. Ella Nilsen, CNN, 30 Dec. 2022 The bitingly cold temperatures are expected to persist. Ian Prasad Philbrick, New York Times, 25 Dec. 2022 While cold weather is expected to persist Friday night and most of Saturday, temperatures will rise above freezing around noon Sunday, or Christmas Day, and will reach a high of 45 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. Dallas News, 23 Dec. 2022 Low temperatures are expected to persist throughout the day – Fischer said it's expected to be the coldest day the city has seen in about 30 years. Rae Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 23 Dec. 2022 Cloudy and rainy conditions are expected to persist into Tuesday. Sam Kmack, The Arizona Republic, 5 Dec. 2022 See More

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.

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 28 Mar. 2023.

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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