9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[puh-ren-ee-uh l] /pəˈrɛn i əl/
lasting for an indefinitely long time; enduring:
her perennial beauty.
(of plants) having a life cycle lasting more than two years.
lasting or continuing throughout the entire year, as a stream.
perpetual; everlasting; continuing; recurrent.
a perennial plant:
Daffodils and tulips are perennials.
something that is continuing or recurrent.
Origin of perennial
1635-45; < Latin perenni(s) lasting the whole year through (per- per- + -enn-, combining form of annus year + -is adj. suffix) + -al1
Related forms
perenniality, noun
perennially, adverb
Can be confused
annual, perennial.
1. perdurable; constant, incessant, continual. 4. imperishable, undying, eternal, immortal. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for perennial
  • Biotechnologists are converting annual crops into perennial ones, eliminating the need for yearly planting.
  • The word is a perennial issue in English usage.
  • The debate is as fierce and perennial as the surf pounding the Alaska coastline.
  • With perennial weeds, seeds aren't the only problem, since they produce fewer of them.
  • The steppe landscape is almost completely dominated by perennial grasses and patches of dwarf sagebrush.
  • Other perennial best sellers have a reputation for being the right gift for the right occasion.
  • The positions and perspectives expressed here are all familiar and perennial.
  • The perennial pepperweed is an attractive plant with dainty white flowers.
  • Financing remains a perennial problem.
  • These are perennial movements and resettlement processes in the country that are adding to poverty level.
British Dictionary definitions for perennial


lasting throughout the year or through many years
everlasting; perpetual
a woody or herbaceous plant that can continue its growth for at least two years Compare annual (sense 3), biennial (sense 3)
Derived Forms
perennially, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin perennis continual, from per through + annus year
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perennial

1640s, "evergreen," formed in English from Latin perennis "lasting through the year (or years)," from per- "through" (see per) + annus "year" (see annual). Botanical sense of "Remaining alive through a number of years" is attested from 1670s; figurative meaning of "enduring, permanent" is from 1750. Related: Perennially. For vowel change, see biennial. The noun meaning "a perennial plant" is from 1763.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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perennial in Science
Adjective  Living for three or more years.

Noun  A perennial plant. Herbaceous perennials survive winter and drought as underground roots, rhizomes, bulbs, corms, or tubers. Woody perennials, including vines, shrubs, and trees, usually stop growing during winter and drought. Asters, irises, tulips, and peonies are familiar garden perennials. Compare annual, biennial.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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