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[per-sist, -zist] /pərˈsɪst, -ˈzɪst/
verb (used without object)
to continue steadfastly or firmly in some state, purpose, course of action, or the like, especially in spite of opposition, remonstrance, etc.:
to persist in working for world peace; to persist in unpopular political activities.
to last or endure tenaciously:
The legend of King Arthur has persisted for nearly fifteen centuries.
to be insistent in a statement, request, question, etc.
Origin of persist
1530-40; < Latin persistere literally, to stand firm permanently, equivalent to per- per- + -sistere, akin to stāre to stand
Related forms
persister, noun
persistingly, adverb
persistive, adjective
persistively, adverb
persistiveness, noun
nonpersisting, adjective
unpersisting, adjective
1, 2. See continue. 3. insist. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for persist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • He had a few hasty words with Culduff, but did not persist nor show any desire to make a row in presence of ladies.

    The Bramleighs Of Bishop's Folly Charles James Lever
  • Why should she persist in this eternal search for this impossible condition?

    Dust Mr. and Mrs. Haldeman-Julius
  • Still, they persist in saying that the death and the darkness together form a state of bliss.

  • I beg of you to persist in your address—the unnatural brother called it address!

    Clarissa, Volume 2 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • Now however, she can persist in this course of conduct no longer.

    The Woman in White Wilkie Collins
British Dictionary definitions for persist


verb (intransitive)
(often foll by in) to continue steadfastly or obstinately despite opposition or difficulty
to continue to exist or occur without interruption: the rain persisted throughout the night
Derived Forms
persister, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin persistere, from per- (intensive) + sistere to stand steadfast, from stāre to stand
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 persist

1530s, from Middle French persister (14c.), from Latin persistere "abide, continue steadfastly," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + sistere "come to stand, cause to stand still" (see assist). Related: Persisted; persisting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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