From Late Middle English perpetuate (adjective only), borrowed from Latin perpetuātus (perpetuated) + English -ate (suffix meaning ‘characterized by [the specified thing]’ forming adjectives, and ‘to act in [the specified manner]’ forming verbs). Perpetuātus is the perfect passive participle of perpetuō (to cause to continue uninterruptedly, to proceed with continually, to make perpetual, perpetuate), from perpetuus (everlasting, perpetual) (from per- (prefix meaning ‘very’) + petō (to ask, request; to look for; to make for (somewhere)) (ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *peth₂- (to spread out; to fly)) + -uus (suffix forming adjectives)) + (suffix forming regular first-conjugation verbs).[1][2]




  1. (archaic except poetic) Perpetual, or made perpetual; continued for an indefinite time.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:eternal
    Antonyms: see Thesaurus:ephemeral



perpetuate (third-person singular simple present perpetuates, present participle perpetuating, simple past and past participle perpetuated)

  1. (transitive) To make (something) perpetual; to make (something) continue for an indefinite time; also, to preserve (something) from extinction or oblivion.
    Synonyms: see Thesaurus:eternalize
    1. (law) To record (the testimony of a witness) which may be lost before a matter comes to trial.
      • 1768, William Blackstone, “Of Proceedings in the Courts of Equity”, in Commentaries on the Laws of England, book III (Of Private Wrongs), Oxford, Oxfordshire: [] Clarendon Press, →OCLC, page 450:
        If vvitneſſes to a diſputable fact are old and infirm, it is very uſual to file a bill to perpetuate the teſtimony of thoſe vvitneſſes, although no ſuit is depending; for, it may be, a man's antagoniſt only vvaits for the death of ſome of them to begin his ſuit. This is moſt frequent vvhen lands are deviſed by vvill avvay from the heir at lavv; and the deviſee, in order to perpetuate the teſtimony of the vvitneſſes to ſuch vvill, exhibits a bill in chancery againſt the heir, []
      • 1822 December 17, John Leach, Vice-Chancellor, “Dew v. Clarke”, in The English Reports, volume LVII (Vice-Chancellor’s Court, volume II), Edinburgh: William Green & Sons; London: Stevens & Sons, published October 1905, →OCLC, page 46:
        It appears to me that this bill makes out no case for perpetuating testimony. Although it was true that the validity of the will could not, by reason of the lease, be immediately tried with the devises in trust, yet it may be immediately tried by an action for rent against the tenant. Testimony can be perpetuated only where by no means the Plaintiff can presently assert his title to the property.
  2. (transitive) To prolong the existence of (something) by repetition; to reinforce.
    Synonym: continue
    • 1852, Moses Stuart, “Introduction”, in A Commentary on the Book of Proverbs, New York, N.Y.: M. W. Dodd, [], →OCLC, § 17 (Specimen of Arabic Proverbs), paragraph 64, page 116:
      He who praiseth obscurity perpetuateth it.
    • 2010, Rodney Lee Smith, “The Twenty-one Principles of a Lie”, in The 21 Principles of a Lie: The Logic of the Illogical, Mustang, Okla.: Tate Publishing & Enterprises, →ISBN, page 169:
      [T]he major players [] have the most to either gain from perpetuating the lie to morally or ethically acknowledge the wrong of their actions.


Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit



  1. ^ Compare “perpetuate, adj.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022.
  2. ^ Compare “perpetuate, v.”, in OED Online  , Oxford, Oxfordshire: Oxford University Press, March 2022; “perpetuate, v.”, in Lexico,; Oxford University Press, 2019–2022.

Further readingEdit


Etymology 1Edit



  1. inflection of perpetuare:
    1. second-person plural present indicative
    2. second-person plural imperative

Etymology 2Edit


perpetuate f pl

  1. feminine plural of perpetuato




  1. second-person plural present active imperative of perpetuō




  1. second-person singular voseo imperative of perpetuar combined with te