pertain

play
verb per·tain \pər-ˈtān\

Definition of pertain

  1. intransitive verb
  2. 1a (1) :  to belong as a part, member, accessory, or product (2) :  to belong as an attribute, feature, or function the destruction pertaining to war (3) :  to belong as a duty or right rights that pertain to fatherhoodb :  to be appropriate to something which rule pertains?

  3. 2 :  to have reference books pertaining to birds

pertain was our Word of the Day on 05/25/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of pertain in a Sentence

  1. books pertaining to the country's history

  2. the belief that quality medical care is a right that pertains to everyone

Recent Examples of pertain from the Web

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pertain'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Did You Know?

Pertain comes to us via Anglo-French from the Latin verb pertinēre, meaning "to reach" to or "to belong." Pertinēre, in turn, was formed by combining the prefix per- (meaning "through") and tenēre ("to hold"). Tenēre is a popular root in English words and often manifests with the "-tain" spelling that can be seen in pertain. Other descendants include abstain, contain, detain, obtain, maintain, retain, and sustain, to name a few of the more common ones. Not every "-tain" word has tenēre in its ancestry, though. Ascertain, attain, and certain are among the exceptions. And a few tenēre words don't follow the usual pattern: tenacious and tenure are two.

Origin and Etymology of pertain

Middle English perteinen, from Anglo-French partenir, purteiner, from Latin pertinēre to reach to, belong, from per- through + tenēre to hold — more at thin


PERTAIN Defined for English Language Learners

pertain

play
verb

Definition of pertain for English Language Learners

  • : to relate to someone or something : to have a connection to a person or thing


PERTAIN Defined for Kids

pertain

play
verb per·tain \pər-ˈtān\

Definition of pertain for Students

pertained

;

pertaining

  1. 1 :  to relate to a person or thing The laws pertain to hunting.

  2. 2 :  to belong to as a part, quality, or function These duties pertain to the office of sheriff.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up pertain? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to be a fixed element or attribute

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

July 2017 Words of the Day Quiz

  • alt-597a99e699d07
  • Which is a synonym of gauche?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!