Perseverance Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

In this guide, you’ll learn the meaning of perseverance with the help of useful tools like definitions, origins, synonyms, examples, and more.

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When we take the time to learn the definition of words, it enriches our vocabularies and expands the depth and breadth of our speech and text. An articulate vocabulary can help you express your feelings and intentions with variety which adds credibility to you as the speaker or author. It enhances the experience for the listener or the reader as well. 

While you may know a word, it’s always a good practice to intimately familiarize yourself with its definitions, origins, and other tools that will give the word more meaning.

What Does Perseverance Mean?

According to the dictionary, perseverance is defined as the steady persistence in a course of action, a state, a purpose particularly when done in spite of difficulties, discouragement, or obstacles.

It is also defined, in theology, as a continuance in a state of grace until the end that leads to eternal salvation.

What Is the Origin of Perseverance?

Etymology is the linguistic history of a word. Understanding where a word comes from can deepen your understanding of the definition itself. It’s also interesting to see how words change and evolve over time. Has the meaning changed or just the pronunciation?

Perseverance relates to the verb persevere, and persevere is a Middle English word that comes from the Old French perseverer which meant “to continue or endure.” This Old French word comes directly from the Latin perseverare which meant “continue steadfastly” or “persist”. 

The Latin perseverare comes from Latin persevereus, which meant “very strict” or “earnest”. This can be examined by the Latin word parts. The prefix per meaning “very” and severus which meant “serious, grave, austere, or strict.” 

A visual representation of the word severus can be found in the Harry Potter character Severus Snape who embodied all of those qualities. When you put the two parts together, you get the meaning of “very serious,” which is a pretty accurate description of what the modern word means.

It’s interesting to see that the definition and the pronunciation have remained relatively intact since the creation of Latin. Late Latin as a written language dates back to the 3rd century, so it’s amazing that a word like perseverance could persevere across centuries of use and hold onto its meaning.

How Do We Use the Word Perseverance?

Perseverance is a common word used in the Church, and it is often used to describe the persistence of faith in the face of the perceived obstacles of sin, satan, and other distractions of the secular world and the fallible nature of man. In the Church, perseverance is a key part of the path to eternal salvation. The word perseverance is mentioned 25 times in the New Testament. 

In addition to its use in theology, the word is also popular for coaches and motivational speakers. Anyone seeking to encourage a person to persist beyond obstacles that might otherwise deter them is likely to mention perseverance because that’s what is needed to succeed.  

Many successful people cite perseverance as what ultimately led to their success when others failed. The Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist Marie Salomea Sklodowska Curie is quoted as saying, “Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this thing must be attained.” 

As most know, Marie Curie conducted pioneering research on radioactivity, and it is without a doubt that we can assume she would attribute her discoveries and success to her own perseverance.

When you use the word perseverance, you will often note the obstacles or adversities that have been overcome to reach a goal. Learning similar words will help you know more about the proper use of the word perseverance. 

What Are Synonyms for the Word Perseverance?

Synonyms are related words with the same meaning as the subject word. They can often be used interchangeably to avoid redundant use of the subject word when the author or speaker is trying to talk at length. Here are a few synonyms for the word perseverance:

  • Persistence
  • Tenacity
  • Endurance
  • Patience
  • Staying power
  • Resolve
  • Determination
  • Dedication
  • Grit
  • Moxie
  • Stamina
  • Spunk
  • Steadfastness

What Are Antonyms for the Word Perseverance?

Antonyms are related words that have the opposite meaning of a word. Knowing the antonym of a word may help you uncover what the word does not mean, and this can also help in your understanding of the word itself. Here are a few antonyms for the word perseverance:

  • Lethargy
  • Apathy
  • Indifference
  • Cowardice
  • Idleness
  • Weakness
  • Laziness
  • Indolence

Examples of How To Use Perseverance

Example sentences are the best way to visualize how to use a word in context. A definition is not always a good guide on how to actually apply the word in conversation, and example sentences can teach you how to use the word. 

Here are some examples of perseverance in a sentence:

  • It took perseverance to reach her goals.
  • In the face of obstacles, it took great perseverance and courage to see the task through to completion.
  • The team won in spite of difficulties because of their unrelenting perseverance.
  • Her perseverance gave her a single-mindedness that allowed her to focus only on achieving greatness.
  • Because of his perseverance, he aced all the quizzes.

The Last Word

When you understand a word thoroughly, you feel more confident and more comfortable using it. Now that you know the word perseverance, perhaps you’ll use it more frequently. 

You’re now armed with the definition, the history, an explanation of how to use it, and examples of similar words, dissimilar words, and using it in a sentence. You’re fully prepared to use the word perseverance correctly. 


  1. PERSEVERANCE | Cambridge English Dictionary 
  2. Perseverance definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  3. Marie Curie the Scientist | Marie Curie