per·​sist pər-ˈsist How to pronounce persist (audio) -ˈzist How to pronounce persist (audio)
persisted; persisting; persists

intransitive verb

: to go on resolutely or stubbornly in spite of opposition, importunity, or warning
obsolete : to remain unchanged or fixed in a specified character, condition, or position
: to be insistent in the repetition or pressing of an utterance (such as a question or an opinion)
: to continue to exist especially past a usual, expected, or normal time
persister noun
Choose the Right Synonym for persist

continue, last, endure, abide, persist mean to exist over a period of time or indefinitely.

continue applies to a process going on without ending.

the search for peace will continue

last, especially when unqualified, may stress existing beyond what is normal or expected.

buy shoes that will last

endure adds an implication of resisting destructive forces or agencies.

in spite of everything, her faith endured

abide implies stable and constant existing especially as opposed to mutability.

a love that abides through 40 years of marriage

persist suggests outlasting the normal or appointed time and often connotes obstinacy or doggedness.

the sense of guilt persisted

Examples of persist in a Sentence

She had turned him down for a date before, but he persisted and asked her again. The reporter persisted with his questioning. If you persist with this behavior, you will be punished. Must you persist in making that noise? If the pain persists, see a doctor. Doubts about the defendant's story have persisted for some time now. Rumors persist that they are dating. See More
Recent Examples on the Web The situation is expected to be a long-duration rainfall event, with the risk of flooding persisting all day Friday, including through the evening rush hour. Kathryn Prociv, NBC News, 29 Sep. 2023 The resulting disruptions are likely to be significant, especially if the stalemate persists for weeks, potentially dragging down the fragile U.S. economy while complicating many of the services on which millions of Americans and businesses rely. Tony Romm, Washington Post, 28 Sep. 2023 Temperatures changed, severe droughts persisted, and food sources may have dwindled as animals like mammoths, mastodons, and giant sloths went extinct. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 28 Sep. 2023 With gridlock persisting in Washington, a government shutdown is looking more and more likely ahead of Saturday night’s deadline. Wyatte Grantham-Philips, Fortune, 27 Sep. 2023 In the time since, ISPs have refrained from doing the kind of blocking and preferential treatment that net neutrality advocates have warned could occur, but Rosenworcel’s proposal highlights how concerns about that possibility have persisted. Brian Fung, CNN, 26 Sep. 2023 Stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting can persist if a person has them as part of a COVID infection. Maggie O'Neill, Health, 25 Sep. 2023 And although issues of internet connection and at-home access to devices persist, new improvements to the Chromebook could help stretch its lifetime and scope. Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times, 22 Sep. 2023 Though it hasn’t been well studied yet, case studies suggest this condition may persist even a few years after returning to Earth. Rachael Seidler, Discover Magazine, 22 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'persist.' 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 French persister, from Latin persistere, from per- + sistere to take a stand, stand firm; akin to Latin stare to stand — more at stand

First Known Use

1531, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of persist was in 1531

Dictionary Entries Near persist

Cite this Entry

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

Kids Definition


per·​sist pər-ˈsist How to pronounce persist (audio) -ˈzist How to pronounce persist (audio)
: to continue to do something in spite of opposition, warnings, or pleas : persevere
: to last on and on : continue to exist
persister noun

More from Merriam-Webster on persist

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