sempiternal vs everlasting..

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Senior Member
Hello there :),,

I find sempiternal and everlasting very similar.

Are they actually the same?

For instance ;

'Our love is sempiternal/everlasting.'

By the way, I've hardly seen people use sempiternal. Is it a rare word in English?

Could anyone help me?

  • rhitagawr

    Senior Member
    British English
    It certainly is. I've never heard of it. I should stick to eternal if I were you.
    Eternal or everlasting work if you're talking about love. God is eternal. Eternal is more likely to be used figuratively; I'm fed up with having to solve his eternal problems.
    There's the adverb eternally. I'll be eternally grateful. I haven't heard of everlastingly, although someone may have done.


    Member Emeritus
    English - US
    I'd never heard of "sempiternal" before either, but I've discovered that it actually exists. From
    "sem·pi·ter·nal adj. enduring forever; eternal. See Synonyms at infinite." This precisely reflects the entry in the American Heritage Dictionary on my bookshelf.

    I agree with the others, though, Jexxry: Don't use it. No one will know what you're talking about.


    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    I have only ever encountered sempiternal in a religious context: in the Requiem Mass if my memory serves me well.


    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    "Sempiternal" is a word that is used almost exclusively in theological and philosophical contexts. e2efour is mistaken, in that there is a difference between eternal, which in philosophical contexts means "atemporal", or existing outside of time, and sempiternal, which means "everlasting". (Anyone interested in reading more about the distinction may look here)

    However, while "sempiternal" does mean "everlasting", it is not a word that you should ever think of using outside of philosophical discussions. In everday conversation, it would seem very odd indeed.
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