per·​se·​vere ˌpər-sə-ˈvir How to pronounce persevere (audio)
persevered; persevering

intransitive verb

: to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement
perseveringly adverb

Did you know?

The early settlers of the New World persevered in the face of constant hardship and danger. The Pilgrims of Plymouth Plantation lost half their number in the first winter to disease and hunger, but their perseverance paid off, and within five years their community was healthy and self-sufficient. Perhaps more remarkable are all the solitary inventors who have persevered in pursuing their visions for years, lacking any financial support and laughed at by the public.

Examples of persevere in a Sentence

She persevered in her studies and graduated near the top of her class. Even though he was tired, he persevered and finished the race.
Recent Examples on the Web The pope, during a 10-minute appearance via video at the New York City event, encouraged people to persevere in the face of hardship and discussed the need to address climate change, protect children, and end war. Jeremiah Poff, Washington Examiner, 18 Sep. 2023 Its most valuable, if hardly stunning, takeaway: that public-health innovators have always encountered societal resistance, and that some have nevertheless persevered. Julia M. Klein,, 11 Sep. 2023 On the other hand, addressing social issues through a framework of brand values gives us the fortitude to persevere in enacting change that can win the trust of stakeholders, withstand future challenges, and drive long-term impact. Daniel Lubetzky, Fortune, 8 Aug. 2023 Swayne said her mother persevered as a single parent with a strength that is one of her strongest influences. Mike Cason |, al, 7 Aug. 2023 Then have a relentless pursuit to get better and to persevere. Dan Wiederer, Chicago Tribune, 15 Sep. 2023 But the poem is a tribute to persevering in the face of hardship and criticism, and Biles is no stranger to that. Tom Schad, USA TODAY, 26 Aug. 2023 The ability to persevere even when things do not go according to plan is an important one in organic, sustainable gardening. Elizabeth Waddington, Treehugger, 25 Aug. 2023 As a result, these democracies were able to persevere through recurring crises and face down existential threats. Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 See More

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

Word History


Middle English perseveren, borrowed from Anglo-French parseverer, perseverer "to last, endure, persist in spite of opposition," borrowed from Latin persevērāre "to persist in a course of action or an attitude in spite of opposition, keep on, (of a condition) continue, last," from per- per- + -sevērāre, verbal derivative of sevērus "stern, austere, severe"

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of persevere was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near persevere

Cite this Entry

“Persevere.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


per·​se·​vere ˌpər-sə-ˈvi(ə)r How to pronounce persevere (audio)
persevered; persevering
: to keep at something in spite of difficulties, opposition, or discouragement

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