Perennial Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It

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Pop quiz: What do peonies, hostas, and black-eyed Susans have in common?

If you guessed that they are all perennial plants, then you are correct. Still, the word perennial (/pəˈren.i.əl/ /pəˈrenēəl/ /pəˈrɛniəl/) doesn’t solely refer to flowers — despite what some people may think) So, what does perennial mean, you ask? We’ll tell you.

Read on to discover all there is to know about our word of the day, including its definition, origin, synonyms, and more. 

What Is the Definition of Perennial?

According to the Collins Dictionary, the adjective perennial is used to describe states or situations that keep occurring or that seem to exist all the time. For example, arguing with your mom about cleaning your room might be a perennial conversation. 

In horticulture or botany, there are also perennial plants, which have a life cycle lasting more than two years and usually reappear each spring because they produce seeds and flowers from the same root structure. There are two forms of perennial plants; woody plants and herbaceous plants.

Herbaceous perennials survive winter, as well as drought, through underground roots, tubers, bulbs, rhizomes, or corms. Woody perennials such as shrubs, vines, and trees, commonly stop growing during drought or winter but will continue to grow after the fact.

Some of the most familiar garden perennials are tulips, irises, asters, and peonies. 

Fun Fact: One of the most common perennial plants is the Ranunculus acris, also known as the meadow buttercup or common buttercup. 

What Is the Word Origin of Perennial?

The etymology of perennial begins in the 1640s and is formed from the Latin perennis — which literally means lasting through the whole year. The Latin perennis was formed by combining; per (meaning by or through) with -enn, annus (meaning year), and -is. 

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Perennial?

To further your overall understanding of the word perennial, it can be especially helpful to review its synonyms and antonyms. 

What Are Synonyms of Perennial?

In short, a synonym is a term that has the same — or nearly the same — meaning as another term. Synonyms of perennial include:

  • Never-ending
  • Enduring
  • Lasting
  • Eternal
  • Perpetual 
  • Long-lasting
  • Abiding 
  • Everlasting
  • Constant 
  • Long-lived
  • Never changing
  • Year-round
  • Happening at intervals
  • On and off
  • Permanent 
  • Continuing 
  • Persistent 
  • Dyed in the wool
  • Long established
  • Bona fide
  • Imperishable 
  • Long-standing
  • Each year
  • Every year
  • Per annum
  • Once a year
  • Undying 
  • Ageless
  • Durable
  • Regular
  • Returning 
  • Year by year
  • Isochronal
  • Isochronous
  • Reiterative 
  • Life long
  • Recurrent 
  • Unfailing 
  • Old 
  • Sustained
  • Deathless
  • Uninterrupted
  • Ceaseless
  • Immortal 
  • Unending
  • Timeless
  • Inveterate 
  • Year on year
  • Recurring
  • Periodic
  • Recurrent
  • Repeated 
  • Frequent
  • Odd
  • Cyclic
  • Chronic
  • Seasonal
  • Chain
  • Repeating
  • Repetitive
  • Rooted
  • Deep 
  • Once yearly
  • Annual 
  • Every twelve months
  • Firm
  • Ardent
  • Complete
  • Dedicated
  • Devoted
  • Resolute
  • Set 
  • Year-end
  • Happening at intervals 

What Are Antonyms of Perennial?

On the flip side, an antonym is a word with the opposite meaning. Antonyms of perennial include:

  • One-off
  • Ceasing
  • Changing
  • Concluding
  • Ending 
  • Hit or miss
  • On and off
  • Ephemeral
  • Halting
  • Infrequent 
  • Terminating
  • Discontinuous 
  • Mortal
  • Irregular 
  • Transient
  • Fleeting 
  • Stop and go
  • Here and there
  • Now and then
  • Capricious
  • Changeful
  • Changing
  • Fickle
  • Fluctuating
  • Fluid
  • Inconstant
  • Mercurial
  • Skittish
  • Unsteady
  • Varying
  • Volatile 
  • In fits and starts
  • On again and off again
  • Few and far between
  • Of and on
  • Once in a blue moon
  • Out of the common

How Can You Use Perennial in a Sentence?

By now, you should have a pretty good grasp on our word of the day — but do you know how to use it in a sentence? 

Not to worry; here are some excellent example sentences for you to study below:

Susie just seems to always exude this perennial happiness, and honestly, I find it quite intoxicating; I really wish to get to know her better.

Don’t sweat it; we really do not need to go all out with ribs and steak. Honestly, just grab some hamburgers and hot dogs; they are always a perennial favorite at all BBQs.

Man, oh man, your perennial youth will always be a mystery to me. How can you maintain such vigor at such a ripe age?

Each and every year, politicians seem to raise the same perennial questions, and by the end of their term. That being said, the perennial problem is that none of these questions ever seem to be answered.

Casey was just telling me about this perennial stream he grew up next to, near the Valparai plateau, and all the amazing wildlife it would attract.

It is wild to see how my perennials can survive from one year to the next, even when they have seemingly died off during the winter.

Molly’s garden is full of perennials.

In our house, the movie Elf has quickly become a perennial favorite for the holiday season.

My husband and I have been stuck in a perennial debate about the ultimate food for more than two years now!

Unfortunately, flooding is a perennial issue for the folks living by the river.

We learned about perennial plants in biology today and were even given some seeds to grow some of our own!

What Are Translations of Perennial?

Now that you’re better acquainted with the word perennial, let’s explore some of the ways it can be said in a different language. Here are the top translations of perennial:

  • Turkish — Uzun ömürlü
  • Ukrainian — Багаторічні
  • Vietnamese — Lâu năm
  • Russian — Многолетний
  • Spanish — Perenne
  • Swedish — Perenn
  • Thai — ไม้ยืนต้น
  • British English — Perennial 
  • Dutch — perennial
  • Finnish — Monivuotinen
  • French — Pérenne
  • German — Mehrjährig
  • Greek — Αέναος
  • Italian — Perenne
  • Japanese — 多年生の
  • Korean — 다년생
  • Norwegian — Flerårig
  • Polish — Bylina
  • Afrikaans — Meerjarige
  • Arabic — الدائمة
  • American English — perennial 
  • Bulgarian — Многогодишни
  • Chinese (simplified) — 多年生
  • Croatian — Višegodišnji
  • Czech — Trvalý
  • Danish — Flerårig 


To recap, perennial predominantly describes anything that is constant, permanent, or repeated. For instance, the constant battle with your in-laws during thanksgiving over who made the best stuffing could be considered a perennial conflict.


Perennial definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

PERENNIAL: Definition | Cambridge English Dictionary

Perennial Definition & Meaning | Britannica Dictionary