Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lasting an indefinitely long time; enduring.
  • adjective Appearing again and again or year after year; recurrent: synonym: continual.
  • adjective Botany Living three or more years.
  • adjective Lasting or active throughout the year.
  • noun Botany A perennial plant.
  • noun Something that recurs or seems to recur on a yearly or continual basis.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • 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.
  • noun In botany, a plant which lives and blossoms or fructifies year after year.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

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

Etymologies

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

[Latin perennis (per-, throughout; see per– + annus, year; see at- in Indo-European roots) + –al.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1644, from Latin perennis ("lasting through the whole year"), from per- ("through") + annus ("year").

Examples

Comments

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  • 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

  • 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

  • https://www.wsj.com/articles/forget-senior-citizenaging-baby-boomers-search-for-better-term-1535556196

    There’s a new way to describe old. It’s “perennial.” Not everyone likes it.

    September 25, 2018