perse (adj.) Look up perse at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "blue, bluish-gray," later "purplish-black," from Old French pers "(dark) blue, livid; wan, pale," from Late Latin persus, perhaps a back-formation from one of the early European forms of Persia.
persea (n.) Look up persea at Dictionary.com
sacred fruit-bearing tree of Egypt and Persia, c.1600, from Latin persea, from Greek persea. Used from early 19c. of a genus of trees and shrubs in the West Indies.
persecute (v.) Look up persecute at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "to oppress for the holding of a belief or opinion," from Middle French persécuter "pursue, torment, open legal action" (14c.), from Latin persecutus, past participle of persequi "to pursue" (see persecution). Related: Persecuted; persecuting.
persecution (n.) Look up persecution at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., "oppression for the holding of a belief or opinion," from Old French persecucion "persecution, damage, affliction, suffering" (12c.) and directly from Latin persecutionem (nominative persecutio), noun of action from past participle stem of persequi "follow, pursue, hunt down; proceed against, prosecute, start a legal action," from per- "through" (see per) + sequi "follow" (see sequel). Psychological persecution complex is recorded from 1961; earlier persecution mania (1892).
persecutor (n.) Look up persecutor at Dictionary.com
early 15c., from Anglo-French persecutour, Old French persecutor "persecutor, enemy" (12c., Modern French persécuteur), from Latin persecutor, agent noun from persequi (see persecution).
Perseid (n.) Look up Perseid at Dictionary.com
meteor from an annual shower that appears to radiate from the constellation Perseus, 1867, from Modern Latin Perseides (plural), from Greek Perseis "daughter of Perseus" (see Perseus; also see -id). The name might have been introduced in English via the writings of Italian astronomer Giovanni Schiaparelli. Other recorded old names for them in English include August meteors and Tears of St. Lawrence.
Persephone Look up Persephone at Dictionary.com
wife of Hades, queen of the netherworld, identified with Kore, daughter of Zeus and Demeter, from Greek Persephone (see person).
Persepolis Look up Persepolis at Dictionary.com
ancient capital of Persia, founded 6c. B.C.E. by Darius the Great; from Greek, literally "city of the Persians," from Perses "Persians" (see Persian) + -polis "city" (see polis). The modern Iranian name for the place is Takht-e-jamshid, literally "throne of Jamshid," a legendary king whose name was substituted when Darius was forgotten.
Perseus Look up Perseus at Dictionary.com
son of Zeus and Danaƫ, slayer of Medusa, from Greek Perseus, of unknown origin.
perseverance (n.) Look up perseverance at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French perseverance "persistence, endurance" (12c., Modern French persévérance) and directly from Latin perseverantia "steadfastness, constancy," from perseverantem (nominative perseverans), from perseverare (see persevere).
perseverant (adj.) Look up perseverant at Dictionary.com
mid-14c. (implied in perseverantly), from Middle French persévérant (12c.), present participle of persévérer (see persevere).
perseverate (v.) Look up perseverate at Dictionary.com
1915, in psychology, a back-formation from perseveration. Related: Perseverating; perseverative.
perseveration (n.) Look up perseveration at Dictionary.com
early 15c., "duration, quality of persisting; will to persevere," from Old French perseveracion "persistence, stubbornness" (13c.) and directly, from Latin perseverationem (nominative perseveratio), noun of action from past participle stem of perseverare (see persevere). Psychological sense (1915) is from German.
persevere (v.) Look up persevere at Dictionary.com
mid-14c., from Old French perseverer "continue, persevere, endure" and directly from Latin perseverare "continue steadfastly, persist," from persevereus "very strict, earnest," from per- "very" (see per) + severus "strict" (see severity). Related: Persevered; persevering.
Persia Look up Persia at Dictionary.com
from Latin Persia "Persia," from Greek Persis, from Old Persian Parsa (cognate with Persian Fars, Hebrew Paras, Arabic Faris).
Persian Look up Persian at Dictionary.com
c.1400, percynne (adj.), Old English Perse (n.), both from Latin *Persianus (the adjective via Old French persien), from Persia "Persia" (see Persia). First record of Persian cat is from 1785.
persiflage (n.) Look up persiflage at Dictionary.com
1757, from French persiflage, from persifler "to banter" (18c.), from Latin per- "through" (see per) + French siffler "to whistle, hiss," from collateral form of Latin sibilare "to hiss," possibly of imitative origin. Said to have been introduced in English by Chesterfield.
persimmon (n.) Look up persimmon at Dictionary.com
1610s, from Powhatan (Algonquian) pasimenan "fruit dried artificially," from pasimeneu "he dries fruit," containing proto-Algonquian */-min-/ "fruit, berry."
Persis Look up Persis at Dictionary.com
fem. proper name, from Latin, from Greek Persis, literally "a Persian woman," related to Perses "Persian" (see Persian).
persist (v.) Look up persist at Dictionary.com
1530s, from Middle French persister (14c.), from Latin persistere "abide, continue steadfastly," from per- "thoroughly" (see per) + sistere "come to stand, cause to stand still" (see assist). Related: Persisted; persisting.
persistence (n.) Look up persistence at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Middle French persistance, from persistant "lasting, enduring, permanent," from Latin persistentem (nominative persistens), present participle of persistere (see persist). Often spelled persistance 16c. Related: Persistency.
persistent (adj.) Look up persistent at Dictionary.com
1723, from persistence or from Latin persistentem (nominative persistens), present participle of persistere (see persist). Related: Persistently.
persnickety (adj.) Look up persnickety at Dictionary.com
1889, alteration of pernickety (q.v.).
person (n.) Look up person at Dictionary.com
early 13c., from Old French persone "human being, anyone, person" (12c., Modern French personne) and directly from Latin persona "human being, person, personage; a part in a drama, assumed character," originally "mask, false face," such as those of wood or clay worn by the actors in later Roman theater. OED offers the general 19c. explanation of persona as "related to" Latin personare "to sound through" (i.e. the mask as something spoken through and perhaps amplifying the voice), "but the long o makes a difficulty ...." Klein and Barnhart say it is possibly borrowed from Etruscan phersu "mask." Klein goes on to say this is ultimately of Greek origin and compares Persephone.

Of corporate entities from mid-15c. The use of -person to replace -man in compounds and avoid alleged sexist connotations is first recorded 1971 (in chairperson). In person "by bodily presence" is from 1560s. Person-to-person first recorded 1919, originally of telephone calls.
persona (n.) Look up persona at Dictionary.com
1917, "outward or social personality," a Jungian psychology term, from Latin persona "person" (see person). Used earlier (1909) by Ezra Pound in the sense "literary character representing voice of the author." Persona grata is Late Latin, literally "an acceptable person," originally applied to diplomatic representatives acceptable to the governments to which they were sent; hence also persona non grata (plural personæ non gratæ).
personable (adj.) Look up personable at Dictionary.com
"pleasing in one's person," early 15c., from person + -able, or else from Middle French personable. Related: Personably.
personage (n.) Look up personage at Dictionary.com
mid-15c., "body of a person" (with regard to appearance), from Old French personage "size, stature," also "a dignitary" (13c.), from Medieval Latin personaticum (11c.), from persona (see person). Meaning "a person of high rank or distinction" is attested from c.1500 in English; as a longer way to say person, the word was in use from 1550s (but often slyly ironical, with suggestion that the subject is overly self-important).
personal (adj.) Look up personal at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "pertaining to the self," from Old French personal (12c., Modern French personnel), from Late Latin personalis "pertaining to a person," from Latin persona (see person). Meaning "aimed at some particular person" (usually in a hostile manner) first attested 1610s. The noun sense of "newspaper item about private matters" is attested from 1888. As "a classified ad addressed to an individual," it is recorded from 1861. Personal computer is from 1976.
personality (n.) Look up personality at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "quality or fact of being a person," from Medieval Latin personalitatem (nominative personalitas), from Late Latin personalis (see personal). Sense of "a distinctive character" is first recorded 1795, from French personnalité.
Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence, coupled with the greatest possible freedom of self-determination. [C.G. Jung, 1875-1961]
Meaning "person whose character stands out from that of others" is from 1889. Personality cult is attested from 1956.
personalization (n.) Look up personalization at Dictionary.com
1849, from personalize + -ation.
personalize (v.) Look up personalize at Dictionary.com
1747, from personal + -ize. Related: Personalized; personalizing.
personally (adv.) Look up personally at Dictionary.com
late 14c., from personal + -ly (2). Meaning "as far as I'm concerned" is from 1849.
personalty (n.) Look up personalty at Dictionary.com
legal term, late 15c., from Anglo-French personaltie, corresponding to Middle French personalite, from Medieval Latin personalitas (see personality).
personhood (n.) Look up personhood at Dictionary.com
1878, from person + -hood.
personification (n.) Look up personification at Dictionary.com
1755, noun of action from personify. Sense of "embodiment of a quality in a person" is attested from 1807.
personify (v.) Look up personify at Dictionary.com
1727 "to attribute personal form to things or abstractions" (especially as an artistic or literary technique), from person + -fy or from French personnifier (17c.), from personne. Meaning "to represent, embody" attested from 1806. Related: Personified; personifying.
personnel (n.) Look up personnel at Dictionary.com
1837, from French personnel (a contrastive term to matériel), noun use of personnel (adj.) "personal," from Old French personel (see personal).
perspective (n.) Look up perspective at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "science of optics," from Old French perspective and directly from Medieval Latin perspectiva ars "science of optics," from fem. of perspectivus "of sight, optical" from Latin perspectus "clearly perceived," past participle of perspicere "inspect, look through, look closely at," from per- "through" (see per) + specere "look at" (see scope (n.1)). Sense of "art of drawing objects so as to give appearance of distance or depth" is first found 1590s, influenced by Italian prospettiva, an artists' term. The figurative meaning "mental outlook over time" is first recorded 1762.
Perspex Look up Perspex at Dictionary.com
1935, trade name in Britain for what in the U.S. is called Plexiglas or Lucite, irregularly formed from Latin perspect-, past participle stem of perspicere "look through, look closely at" (see perspective).
perspicacious (adj.) Look up perspicacious at Dictionary.com
1630s, formed as an adjective to perspicacity, from Latin perspicax "sharp-sighted, having the power of seeing through; acute" (see perspicacity). Related: Perspicaciously; perspicaciousness.
perspicacity (n.) Look up perspicacity at Dictionary.com
1540s, from Middle French perspicacité (15c.) and directly from Late Latin perspicacitas "sharp-sightedness, discernment," from Latin perspicax "sharp-sighted, having the power of seeing through," from perspicere "look through, look closely at" (see perspective).
perspicuity (n.) Look up perspicuity at Dictionary.com
late 15c., of things; 1540s, of expressions, from Latin perspicuitas "transparency, clearness," from perspicuus, from perspicere "look through, look closely at" (see perspective).
perspicuous (adj.) Look up perspicuous at Dictionary.com
late 15c., from Latin perspicuus "transparent, clear, evident," from perspicere "look through, look closely at" (see perspective). Related: Perspicuously; perspicuousness.
perspiration (n.) Look up perspiration at Dictionary.com
1610s, from French perspiration (1560s), noun of action from perspirer "perspire," from Latin perspirare "blow or breathe constantly," from per- "through" (see per) + spirare "to breathe, blow" (see spirit (n.)). Applied to excretion of invisible moistures through the skin (1620s), hence used as a euphemism for "sweat" from 1725.
perspire (v.) Look up perspire at Dictionary.com
1640s, "to evaporate through the pores," a back-formation from perspiration and in part from Latin perspirare "to breathe, to blow constantly" (see perspiration). Meaning "to sweat" is a polite usage attested from 1725. Medical men tried to maintain a distinction between "sensible" (sweat) and "insensible" perspiration:
[I]t is sufficient for common use to observe, that perspiration is that insensible discharge of vapour from the whole surface of the body and the lungs which is constantly going on in a healthy state; that it is always natural and always salutary; that sweat, on the contrary, is an evacuation, which never appears without some uncommon effort, or some disease to the system, that it weakens and relaxes, and is so far from coinciding with perspiration, that it obstructs and checks it. [Charles White, "A Treatise on the Management of Pregnant and Lying-in Women," London, 1791]
Related: Perspired; perspiring.
persuadable (adj.) Look up persuadable at Dictionary.com
"capable of being persuaded," 1737, from persuade + -able. Fowler recommends this over the older adjective, persuasible (late 14c.), from Latin persuasibilis "convincing, persuasive," from persuad-, past participle stem of persuadere (see persuade). This originally meant "having power to persuade," but c.1500 it also acquired the meaning "capable of being persuaded" and the older sense became obsolete.
persuade (v.) Look up persuade at Dictionary.com
1510s, from Middle French persuader (14c.), from Latin persuadere "to bring over by talking," (see persuasion). Related: Persuaded; persuading.
persuasion (n.) Look up persuasion at Dictionary.com
late 14c., "action of inducing (someone) to believe (something); argument to persuade, inducement," from Old French persuasion (14c.) and directly from Latin persuasionem (nominative persuasio) "a convincing, persuading," noun of action from past participle stem of persuadere "persuade, convince," from per- "thoroughly, strongly" (see per) + suadere "to urge, persuade," from PIE *swad- "sweet, pleasant" (see sweet (adj.)). Meaning "religious belief, creed" is from 1620s.
persuasive (adj.) Look up persuasive at Dictionary.com
1580s, from Middle French persuasif, from Medieval Latin persuasivus, from Latin persuas-, past participle stem of persuadere "persuade, convince" (see persuasion). Related: Persuasively; persuasiveness. Replaced earlier persuasible in this sense (see persuadable).
pert (adj.) Look up pert at Dictionary.com
c.1300 (implied in pertly), "evident, unconcealed," shortened form of Middle English apert "open, frank," from Old French apert, from Latin apertus, past participle of aperire "to open" (see overt). Sense of "saucy, bold" first recorded late 14c. Less pejorative meaning "lively, brisk, in good spirits" (c.1500) survives in U.S. dialectal peart (with Middle English alternative spelling). Related: Pertness.