Definition of sempiternal
: of never-ending duration : eternal
sempiternal was our Word of the Day on 10/28/2014. Hear the podcast!
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Did You Know?
Despite their similarities, sempiternal and eternal come from different roots. Sempiternal is derived from the Late Latin sempiternalis and ultimately from semper, Latin for always. (You may recognize semper as a key element in the motto of the U.S. Marine Corps: semper fidelis, meaning "always faithful.") Eternal, on the other hand, is derived by way of Middle French and Middle English from the Late Latin aeternalis and ultimately from aevum, Latin for age or "eternity." Sempiternal is much less common than eternal, but some writers have found it useful. Ralph Waldo Emerson, for example, wrote, "The one thing which we seek with insatiable desire is to forget ourselves, … to lose our sempiternal memory, and to do something without knowing how or why…."
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