precarious


pre·car·i·ous

adjective \pri-ˈker-ē-əs\

: not safe, strong, or steady

Full Definition of PRECARIOUS

1
:  depending on the will or pleasure of another
2
:  dependent on uncertain premises :  dubious <precarious generalizations>
3
a :  dependent on chance circumstances, unknown conditions, or uncertain developments
b :  characterized by a lack of security or stability that threatens with danger
pre·car·i·ous·ly adverb
pre·car·i·ous·ness noun

Examples of PRECARIOUS

  1. He earned a precarious livelihood by gambling.
  2. The strong wind almost knocked him off of his precarious perch on the edge of the cliff.
  3. These states are corrupt and brutal. They are theocracies, or precarious autocracies, or secular totalitarian states: tyrannies all, deniers of freedom, republics of fear, enemies of civility and human flourishing. —Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 15 Oct. 2001

Origin of PRECARIOUS

Latin precarius obtained by entreaty, uncertain — more at prayer
First Known Use: 1646

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