: of never-ending duration : eternal
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…."
No matter how much we try to analyze it, the question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, will be a matter of sempiternal debate.
"But by Page 10, I knew I'd never read 'Moby-Dick.' The novel- if you can call such an idiosyncratic book by any generic name-hit me like a storm out of nowhere. It contained a wild deluge of thoughts and ideas and sempiternal images." - Amy Wilentz, Los Angeles Times, May 1, 2011
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