1. Lasting forever; never-ending: conceived heaven as a state of perpetual bliss.
2. Continuing or being so for an indefinitely long time: found themselves in perpetual debt; felt like a perpetual outsider. See Synonyms at continual.
3. Flowering throughout the growing season.
[Middle English perpetuel, from Old French, from Latin perpetuālis, from perpetuus, continuous : per-, per- + petere, to go toward; see pet- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.