Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

precipitous

play
adjective pre·cip·i·tous \pri-ˈsi-pə-təs\

Simple Definition of precipitous

  • : very steep

  • : happening in a very quick and sudden way

  • : done too quickly and without enough thought or planning

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of precipitous

  1. 1 :  precipitate 2

  2. 2 a :  very steep, perpendicular, or overhanging in rise or fall <a precipitous slope> b :  having precipitous sides <a precipitous gorge> c :  having a very steep ascent <a precipitous street>

precipitously

adverb

precipitousness

noun

Examples of precipitous in a sentence

  1. There has been a precipitous decline in home sales recently.

  2. People were shocked by his precipitous fall from political power.



Origin and Etymology of precipitous

French précipiteux, from Middle French, from Latin precipitium precipice


First Known Use: 1646

Synonym Discussion of precipitous

steep, abrupt, precipitous, sheer mean having an incline approaching the perpendicular. steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult <a steep hill> <a steep dive>. abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level <a beach with an abrupt drop-off>. precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical <the river winds through a precipitous gorge>. sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse <sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers>.

Rhymes with precipitous



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up precipitous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a talk on a religious or moral theme

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

interruption megillah torrent rebellion
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ