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[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 perennially
  • But when it comes down to choosing which of those dresses will perennially look good on her, the pressure is intense.
  • They are perennially revised by the urgencies of the present.
  • They are perennially vulnerable to virus attacks and require frequent upgrades.
  • Computer users perennially ignore update reminders and run old versions with well-known security holes.
  • perennially frozen with high ice content in valley bottoms and locally along lower hillsides.
  • perennially active, they spend summers cutting spruce cones and caching food to get them through the long, lean northern winters.
  • Unfavorable utility rate structures have perennially been a barrier to increased deployment of renewable energy technologies.
  • Various programs are perennially ranked in the top ten nationally.
British Dictionary definitions for perennially


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 perennially



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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perennially 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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