Share this entry

persist Syllabification: per·sist
Pronunciation: /pərˈsist/

Definition of persist in English:


[no object]
1Continue firmly or obstinately in an opinion or a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure: the minority of drivers who persist in drinking we are persisting with policies that will create jobs for the future
More example sentences
  • He retreated to the ground and did not continue to persist in creating hostile assaults.
  • The main effort should focus on finding a solution to the conflict, rather than persisting with the current situation of conflict management.
  • But the BCC and the police are firm about persisting with the system.
1.1Continue to exist; be prolonged: if the symptoms persist for more than a few days, contact your doctor
More example sentences
  • After the operation his symptoms persisted and got worse, leaving him in such pain that he had to be prescribed morphine.
  • O'Connor said the symptoms usually persist for a few days and then ease up.
  • It says on the packet to consult your doctor if symptoms persist for more than seven days.
continue, hold, carry on, last, keep on, keep up, remain, linger, stay, endure


Mid 16th century: from Latin persistere, from per- 'through, steadfastly' + sistere 'to stand'.

  • Etymologically, someone who persists in doing something cannot be moved from their course. It comes from Latin persistere, formed from per- ‘through, steadfastly’ and sistere ‘to stand’.

Words that rhyme with persist

assist, cist, coexist, consist, cyst, desist, enlist, exist, gist, grist, hist, insist, list, Liszt, mist, resist, schist, subsist, tryst, twist, whist, wist, wrist

Definition of persist in:

Share this entry


What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day innocuous
Pronunciation: ɪˈnɒkjʊəs
not harmful or offensive