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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.
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 perennials
  • Get the scoop on the best perennials to plant for edible garden herbs.
  • Feeds a broad range of plants, from annuals and perennials to ornamentals in containers.
  • Cut back any perennials that have started to show signs of yellow foliage.
  • Enjoy high-impact, low-maintenance perennials that naturally thrive in wet winters and dry summers.
  • There is a good selection of annuals and perennials at great prices.
  • The entire ecology of the perennials is adjusted to the summer rainfall.
  • These are licenses to sell nursery stock or herbaceous perennials that have been obtained from a grower or other wholesale source.
  • Over forty varieties of perennials were used in each of these two gardens.
  • We also produce an enormous variety of flowering annuals and perennials.
British Dictionary definitions for perennials


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 perennials



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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perennials 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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