Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Lasting or active through the year or through many years.
  • adj. Lasting an indefinitely long time; enduring: perennial happiness.
  • adj. Appearing again and again; recurrent. See Synonyms at continual.
  • adj. Botany Living three or more years.
  • n. Botany A perennial plant.
  • n. Something that recurs or seems to recur on a yearly or continual basis: "that hardy perennial, the budget deficit” ( David S. Broder).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Lasting or remaining active throughout the year, or all the time.
  • adj. Having a life cycle of more than two years. Compare annual, biennial.
  • adj. Continuing without cessation or intermission; perpetual; permanent; unceasing; never failing.
  • adj. Enduring; lasting; timeless.
  • adj. Recurrent; appearing or recurring again and again.
  • n. A perennial plant; a plant that is active throughout the year or survives for more than two growing seasons. Compare annual, biennial.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. ing or continuing through the year.
  • adj. Continuing without cessation or intermission; perpetual; unceasing; never failing.
  • adj. Continuing more than two years.
  • n. A perennial plant; a plant which lives or continues more than two years, whether it retains its leaves in winter or not.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Lasting or continuing without cessation through the year, or through many years: as, a perennial spring or fountain.
  • Continuing without stop or intermission; perpetual; unceasing; never-failing; everlasting.
  • In zoology, growing continually: noting teeth which have the pulp-cavity open, and grow indefinitely from persistent pulps: as, the perennial incisors of a rodent.
  • In botany, continuing more than two years: as, a perennial stem or root.
  • In entomology, forming colonies which are continued from year to year, as the ants, bees, and termites; also, living more than one year, as an insect.
  • n. In botany, a plant which lives and blossoms or fructifies year after year.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. lasting an indefinitely long time; suggesting self-renewal
  • n. (botany) a plant lasting for three seasons or more
  • adj. recurring again and again
  • adj. lasting three seasons or more

Etymologies

Latin perennis (per-, throughout; see per- + annus, year; see at- in Indo-European roots) + -al1.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
1644, from Latin perennis ("lasting through the whole year"), from per- ("through") + annus ("year"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • Perennial youth, perennial brightness, follow them both. Who can imagine the old age of the sun?

    Washington Allston, "Human Art and Infinite Truth"

    January 2, 2012

  • One perennial question that personality testing could help to answer is whether hard work can make up for differences in cognitive ability.

    June 9, 2010