self-per·​pet·​u·​at·​ing ˌself-pər-ˈpe-chə-ˌwā-tiŋ How to pronounce self-perpetuating (audio)
: capable of continuing or renewing oneself indefinitely : capable of perpetuating oneself or itself
After years of experiments failing to reveal what maintains this remarkable population of self-perpetuating cells … researchers working with mice have now discovered a way to propagate the cells in the laboratory.S. Carpenter
a self-perpetuating problem [=a problem that causes circumstances that perpetuate the problem]
According to [Laura] Weston, the "self-perpetuating myth" that women's sport doesn't have any audience—which is used by broadcasters, sports editors and brands as the reason not to support it—is, of course, rubbish.Nicole Kemp
New research from Chicago University has discovered that there's a reason why some people who feel lonely often get into a self-perpetuating cycle of loneliness, avoiding social interaction so they won't be rejected.Kate Whiting
self-perpetuation noun
the self-perpetuation of bureaucratic rules

Examples of self-perpetuating in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But there’s symbolic resonance in the idea that cycles of abuse are self-perpetuating. Judy Berman, TIME, 19 Apr. 2024 Beyond releasing more nutrients for more trees and shrubs to grow—a sort of self-perpetuating feedback loop—permafrost is also releasing planet-warming gases, driving still more warming: The microbes feeding on that ancient plant material release carbon dioxide and methane as byproducts. Matt Simon, WIRED, 4 Mar. 2024 Retribution can become a self-perpetuating cycle, where each act of retaliation breeds further hostility and animosity. Mark Travers, Forbes, 20 Feb. 2024 This is a self-perpetuating cycle; other M.2 sizes exist, but most PCs take 2280 drives, so most SSDs use the 2280 size, so most PCs continue to take 2280 drives, and so on. Andrew Cunningham, Ars Technica, 24 Jan. 2023 And every new conflict makes the next more likely by stretching Western resources and straining its focus, creating the conditions for a self-perpetuating cycle. Noah Rothman, National Review, 19 Jan. 2024 This raises new questions about how early Earth's geologic restlessness might have become self-perpetuating, Drabon says. Stephanie Pappas, Scientific American, 20 Nov. 2023 Mark Kelly The populist revolution against self-perpetuating progressive elites is a global phenomenon. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 20 Nov. 2023 These fiercely hot self-perpetuating monsters can continue for weeks. Matt Simon, WIRED, 9 Oct. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'self-perpetuating.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1659, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of self-perpetuating was in 1659

Dictionary Entries Near self-perpetuating

Cite this Entry

“Self-perpetuating.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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