1 : to repeat or recur persistently
2 : to go back over previously covered ground
Did You Know?
Looking at perseverate and perseveration, you may guess that the latter was formed by adding a suffix to the former, but that is not the case. Perseveration is actually the older term. It has been around since the 1500s, when it was used as a synonym of perseverance (which at one time was pronounced, like perseverate and perseveration, with the stress on sev, instead of on ver). In the early 1900s, psychologists adopted perseveration for the act of repeating a behavior over and over again. (For instance, continually repeating the same syllable or word might be called "verbal perseveration.") Shortly afterward, those scientists wanted a verb for such acts of repetition, so they changed the -tion of perseveration to -ate and perseverate was born.
To ensure the accuracy of his or her data, the scientist necessarily perseverates, repeating each experiment many times and comparing the results.
"In a world of sport, where weperseverateon numbers and titles to measure success, Duval's self-measurement is refreshing." - Bill Dwyre, Chicago Tribune, July 19, 2012
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Test Your Vocabulary
Fill in the blanks to create a verb that means "to duplicate or repeat": _ _ _ li _a _ e. The answer is …
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