adjective pe·ren·ni·al \pə-ˈre-nē-əl\

of a plant : living for several years or for many years : having a life cycle that is more than two years long

: existing or continuing in the same way for a long time

: happening again and again

Full Definition of PERENNIAL

:  present at all seasons of the year
:  persisting for several years usually with new herbaceous growth from a perennating part <perennial asters>
a :  persistent, enduring <perennial favorites>
b :  continuing without interruption :  constant, perpetual <the perennial quest for certainty> <a perennial student>
c :  regularly repeated or renewed :  recurrent <death is a perennial literary theme>
perennial noun
pe·ren·ni·al·ly \-nē-ə-lē\ adverb

Examples of PERENNIAL

  1. The problem … is inherent and perennial in any democracy, but it has been more severe in ours during the past quarter-century because of the near universal denigration of government, politics and politicians. —Michael Kinsley, Time, 29 Oct. 2001


Latin perennis, from per- throughout + annus year — more at per-, annual
First Known Use: 1644

Synonym Discussion of PERENNIAL

continual, continuous, constant, incessant, perpetual, perennial mean characterized by continued occurrence or recurrence. continual often implies a close prolonged succession or recurrence <continual showers the whole weekend>. continuous usually implies an uninterrupted flow or spatial extension <football's oldest continuous rivalry>. constant implies uniform or persistent occurrence or recurrence <lived in constant pain>. incessant implies ceaseless or uninterrupted activity <annoyed by the incessant quarreling>. perpetual suggests unfailing repetition or lasting duration <a land of perpetual snowfall>. perennial implies enduring existence often through constant renewal <a perennial source of controversy>.

Other Seed Plant Terms

aubergine, box, bramble, briar, composite, perpetual, pulse, trefoil
PERENNIAL Defined for Kids


adjective pe·ren·ni·al \pə-ˈre-nē-əl\

Definition of PERENNIAL for Kids

:  present all through the year <a perennial stream>
:  living from year to year <a perennial plant>
:  never ending :  constant <perennial joy>
:  happening again and again <perennial flooding>



Definition of PERENNIAL for Kids

:  a plant that lives from year to year

Word Root of PERENNIAL

The Latin word annus, meaning year, gives us the root ann or enn. Words from the Latin annus have something to do with a year. Anything that is annual happens once a year and anything biennial happens once every two years. An anniversary is the return every year of the date on which something special happened. Something perennial continues all year long or comes back each year.
Medical Dictionary


adjective pe·ren·ni·al \pə-ˈren-ē-əl\

Medical Definition of PERENNIAL

:  present at all seasons of the year <perennial rhinitis>
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears