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Middle French persistence (a1475) persistance (1495; French persistance) < persister PERSIST v. + -ence -ENCE suffix; compare -ANCE suffix. Compare post-classical Latin persistentia (6th cent.), Italian persistenza (1342 as persistentia), Spanish persistencia (1668).

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  • 1. The action or fact of persisting in a particular state, opinion, purpose, or course of action, esp. despite opposition, setback, or failure; the quality or virtue of being persistent.
  • 2. a. Continued or prolonged existence or occurrence; duration; continuance.
b. Physiol. The continuance of a sensation after the stimulus which caused it is removed. persistence of vision n. the brief retention of a visual impression on the retina after the stimulus which caused it ceases, used to create the illusion of a moving image in film and television.
c. Physics. = CONSERVATION n. 3. Now hist. persistence of energy n. (also persistence of force) (the principle of) conservation of energy. persistence of matter n. (the principle of) conservation of mass.
d. The emission of light by a luminescent substance or body after the external source of energy is removed; the duration of this.