1. Refusing to give up or let go; persevering obstinately.
2. Insistently repetitive or continuous: a persistent honking of car horns.
3. Existing or remaining in the same state for an indefinitely long time; enduring: persistent rumors; a persistent infection.
4. Botany Lasting past maturity without falling off, as the calyx on an eggplant or the scales of a pine cone.
5. Zoology Retained permanently, rather than disappearing in an early stage of development: the persistent gills of fishes.
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.