dan·​ger·​ous ˈdān-jə-rəs How to pronounce dangerous (audio)
: involving possible injury, pain, harm, or loss : characterized by danger
a dangerous job
: able or likely to inflict injury or harm
a dangerous man
dangerously adverb
dangerousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for dangerous

dangerous, hazardous, precarious, perilous, risky mean bringing or involving the chance of loss or injury.

dangerous applies to something that may cause harm or loss unless dealt with carefully.

soldiers on a dangerous mission

hazardous implies great and continuous risk of harm or failure.

claims that smoking is hazardous to your health

precarious suggests both insecurity and uncertainty.

earned a precarious living by gambling

perilous strongly implies the immediacy of danger.

perilous mountain roads

risky often applies to a known and accepted danger.

shied away from risky investments

Examples of dangerous in a Sentence

She got into a car accident while driving through a dangerous intersection. He often drives at dangerous speeds. The city can be a dangerous place to live. The storms may cause dangerous flooding. He is wanted for assault with a dangerous weapon. the most dangerous of drugs
Recent Examples on the Web Health dangers of lead Lead is especially dangerous for young children. Pien Huang, NPR, 1 Apr. 2024 Have you ever been involved in a situation that was extremely threatening, or dangerous, or somehow dramatic? Peter Hessler, The New Yorker, 1 Apr. 2024 See all Example Sentences for dangerous 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dangerous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see danger entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dangerous was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near dangerous

Cite this Entry

“Dangerous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dangerous. Accessed 14 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


dan·​ger·​ous ˈdānj-(ə-)rəs How to pronounce dangerous (audio)
: exposing to or involving danger
a dangerous mission
: able or likely to cause injury
dangerous weapons
dangerously adverb
dangerousness noun

Legal Definition


: creating a risk of bodily injury
a dangerous condition of a public building
: able or likely to inflict especially serious bodily injury
a dangerous criminal with no regard for human life
a dangerous animal
also : deadly
: likely to engage in repeated criminal activity
a dangerous offender

Note: The activity that an offender is likely to engage in need not involve violence in order for the offender to be deemed dangerous.

More from Merriam-Webster on dangerous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!