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From Middle English pertenen, from Old French partenir (modern French appartenir), in turn from Latin pertineō, pertinēre.



pertain (third-person singular simple present pertains, present participle pertaining, simple past and past participle pertained)

  1. (intransitive) To belong to or be a part of; be an adjunct, attribute, or accessory of.
    That spare wheel pertains to this car.
  2. (intransitive) To relate, to refer, be relevant to.
    That question doesn't pertain to the topic, so I'm not going to answer it.
  3. (intransitive) To apply; to be or remain in place; to continue to be applicable.
    • 1996, Macy Nulman, The Encyclopedia of Jewish Prayer, page 340:
      An explanation offered is that every Sabbath Va'ani Tefilati is said in praise of the people of Israel, who, though they eat and drink, read the Torah and pray. However, on Yom Kippur this does not pertain.

Usage notes[edit]

  • In all the above senses, pertain is followed by to (or formerly by unto, as in The King James Version of The Bible and in the plays of Shakespeare, although to is used in these works as well).



  • 1989, Sort out any booklets or manuals that pertain to the heating system or any other fixture that you are leaving behind. — One's company, Underwood, Lynn, Southampton: Ashford.



Related terms[edit]


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