Definition of perpetual in US English:



  • 1Never ending or changing.

    ‘deep caves in perpetual darkness’
    • ‘There is no other way he could explain it; one moment he was scouting with Kat and the next he was surrounded by perpetual darkness.’
    • ‘Some labor under the delusion that Alaska is smitten with almost perpetual darkness in winter and never ending light in the summer.’
    • ‘Do Americans want to live in a perpetual state of fear and war?’
    • ‘Sontag saw the consequence of living in this perpetual state of fear as ‘an unparalleled violence that is being done to our sense of reality, our humanity’.’
    • ‘But the writers knew that a perpetual darkness was not something that would always keep the viewers coming back.’
    • ‘The sole purpose of this ‘advisory’ appears to be to maintain people in a state of perpetual fear, and also rage at their impotence.’
    • ‘The staircase became treacherous, cast into a state of almost perpetual darkness, and since the tunnel was so steep and so narrow, a slip could prove to be fatal.’
    • ‘Then time seemed to become an abyss a perpetual fall that would never end.’
    • ‘It had been huge, whirling, powerful, unrelenting, with a perpetual fury against anything and everything in the world.’
    • ‘There are now 11.4 million legal permanent residents in the United States living in perpetual fear that their status may be in jeopardy next.’
    • ‘She had a feeling that any creature who lived in perpetual darkness would probably be cranky.’
    • ‘His subjects were taught that he created the dawn of each new day, so that his death in 1994 provoked fear of perpetual darkness.’
    • ‘They were able to fly in unnoticed thanks to the cover of perpetual darkness that was provided by outer space.’
    • ‘The stars had disappeared and now everything looked like it had been swallowed by perpetual darkness.’
    • ‘If the task were left up to C. and A., the neighbors to the west, we'd be plunged into perpetual darkness.’
    • ‘It became a costly and heavy burden for the Zionists and a perpetual source of fear for its soldiers and settlers.’
    • ‘Remus, in close orbit to Romulus, is locked in an odd rotation around its sun, causing half the planet to be in perpetual darkness.’
    • ‘More importantly, it is a country that exists in perpetual darkness for most of the winter.’
    • ‘If I was in fact standing, the ground beneath me was blackened by the perpetual darkness of this now empty dream.’
    • ‘Just as money can't buy love, neither can an Oscar guarantee perpetual box office success.’
    everlasting, never-ending, eternal, permanent, unending, endless, without end, lasting, long-lasting, constant, abiding, enduring, perennial, timeless, ageless, deathless, undying, immortal
    constant, permanent, uninterrupted, continuous, unremitting, unending, unceasing, persistent, unbroken
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    1. 1.1attributive Denoting a position, job, or trophy held for life rather than a limited period, or the person holding it.
      ‘a perpetual secretary of the society’
      • ‘If Maeve is crowned Queen of the Land she will win a perpetual trophy, a substantial prize fund and a weekend for two in the Bridge House Hotel.’
      • ‘Polly receives $150 for winning the award, while Richmond River High School was presented with the perpetual trophy.’
      • ‘Their intention is, to crush all opposition, to their personal, perpetual world rule.’
      • ‘The ladies Cup, for which yachts competed at Rosses Point at the weekend is reputed to be the oldest perpetual trophy in the world for which sailors still compete.’
      • ‘A perpetual trophy depicting the Children of Lir is to be awarded to the winning student each year and will be displayed in their school for the next 12 months.’
      • ‘For the fourth consecutive year and for the seventh time in the past nine years the County Carlow Darts championship perpetual trophy rests in Ballon.’
      • ‘There is a perpetual trophy and 200 euros for the best overall float.’
      • ‘The under-14 quiz team from Brosna arrived home bearing gold medals and the Colum Mooney perpetual trophy after coming first in Ireland out of 50 teams.’
      • ‘The winners will receive a perpetual trophy and go forward to compete in the ESB All - Ireland Debating series.’
      • ‘According to Clark, an unrestricted market with absolute and perpetual land titles is sufficient to allocate land efficiently and distribute rent fairly.’
      • ‘The winner will receive the Michael Collins Youth Award perpetual trophy and will represent Waterford in the Regional Final later in the year.’
      • ‘The Rotary Club of Corsham is planning to sponsor perpetual trophies for some of the town's sports clubs for the centenary landmark.’
      • ‘The winner of the perpetual trophy, which recognises the school with the most awards, went to Churchtown National School.’
      • ‘Winners will receive perpetual cups and trophies.’
      • ‘The region's golfers can play alongside the national sportspeople plus have chance to win the perpetual trophy and a number of individual prizes.’
      • ‘There was a competition within each grade with a perpetual trophy at stake and small cups for the winners with placed dancers receiving medals.’
      • ‘The overall winner will receive £2,000 and a perpetual trophy.’
      • ‘Medals and trophy presentations will be very much part of the day while a perpetual trophy for the best area will also be presented’
      • ‘If this trend continues, looks like Trish might be taking home the perpetual trophy this year.’
      • ‘As well as receiving two certificates, which she is to place on the wall of her shop, Catherine also received three trophies, two of which are perpetual trophies.’
    2. 1.2 (of an investment) having no fixed maturity date; irredeemable.
      ‘a perpetual bond’
      • ‘In valuing equation, i should be the U.S. government perpetual bond yield representing the risk free rate for an infinite time horizon.’
      • ‘Those bonds issued by building societies that subsequently floated on the stock market are referred to as perpetual subordinated bonds (PSBs).’
      • ‘In credit card years, the debt is perpetual, thanks to interest-rate games, hidden fees, and low minimum payments.’
      • ‘These perpetual deficits are now on the verge of spiraling out of control, and only a blind optimist would discount the potential for a serious dollar accident.’
      • ‘First, the most obvious example is the Internet bubble where the majority of enterprises have no economic value whatsoever without perpetual financing.’
      • ‘Lenders being more fair and truthful in their practices helps consumers who need to make minimum payments avoid perpetual debt.’
      • ‘A final and vital flaw in a market-basket dollar is that Gresham's law would result in perpetual shortages and surpluses of different commodities within the market basket.’
      • ‘The triumph of the funding system and its corollary of perpetual debt is undeniable.’
      • ‘But issuing open-ended preference shares with fixed coupon rates would be more in the nature of perpetual bonds.’
      • ‘Their particular PIBS thus became perpetual subordinated bonds (PSBs).’
      • ‘The national debt is really perpetual debt, and perpetual debt has characteristics that make it different from normal debt.’
      • ‘Indeed banks issue perpetual bonds that have no maturity date.’
      • ‘There was the TMT bubble, where countless technology companies soared in value as investors fantasised over perpetual profit growth.’
      • ‘The main tax benefits of establishing a perpetual trust accrue not to the donor or anyone she knows, but to beneficiaries whom the donor has never met - the unborn.’
      • ‘Suppose that the Argentine government issued perpetual bonds that paid an annual dividend equal to one ten-billionth of Argentine GDP, payable in pesos.’
      • ‘Under the agreement, the government will issue special bonds called perpetual promissory notes to the central bank to cover the loans.’
      • ‘In the 1970s, the concept of perpetual government debt was still a relatively new idea in the United States.’
  • 2Occurring repeatedly; so frequent as to seem endless and uninterrupted.

    ‘their perpetual money worries’
    • ‘In some cases even wards such as teachers who are supposed to look after children abuse them and many parents are now in perpetual worry over the safety of their children.’
    • ‘What with their incessant, continual, never ending, perpetual and stop-less demands for financial assistance I see only one clear course of action.’
    • ‘And I was appalled at the recurrent, perpetual mistakes that had been made by the international community of nations when it comes to Third World debt.’
    • ‘It is the essential nature of work to be perpetual, repetitive, habitual.’
    • ‘What's less clear is whether that application growth is itself driven by the falling cost of bulk disk capacity and by the perpetual need to do more for less money.’
    • ‘Now he took his anger out on all three of them, including Summer, whose poor grades and frequent partying were perpetual sources of disappointment.’
    • ‘There are no tests for a start and no perpetual worries over league table places.’
    • ‘The seemingly compassionate phrase, ‘Don't worry,’ eases few people of their perpetual worries.’
    • ‘Meanwhile, there remained that perpetual money question.’
    • ‘Neglected to an extreme, he is in an emotional state of perpetual and chronic traumatic stress - a state of alienation and self-annihilation.’
    • ‘Many of the small and shrinking group of health researchers in Pakistan work in a state of perpetual despondency, frequently with little access to policymakers and planners.’
    • ‘It is not ready for the federal election and is a perpetual worry.’
    interminable, incessant, ceaseless, endless, without respite, relentless, unrelenting, persistent, frequent, continual, continuous, non-stop, never-ending, recurrent, repeated, unremitting, sustained, round-the-clock, always-on, habitual, chronic, unabating
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  • 3(of a plant) blooming or fruiting several times in one season.

    ‘he grows perpetual carnations’
    • ‘He grows perpetual carnations, a laborious and painstaking business, putting a collar on each one to prevent it from splitting before a show.’


Middle English: from Old French perpetuel, from Latin perpetualis, from perpetuus ‘continuing throughout’, from perpes, perpet- ‘continuous’.