im·​per·​il | \ im-ˈper-əl How to pronounce imperil (audio) , -ˈpe-rəl \
imperiled or imperilled; imperiling or imperilling

Definition of imperil

transitive verb

: to bring into peril : endanger

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Other Words from imperil

imperilment \ im-​ˈper-​əl-​mənt How to pronounce imperilment (audio) , -​ˈpe-​rəl-​ \ noun

Examples of imperil in a Sentence

The toxic fumes imperiled the lives of the trapped miners. The financial health of the company was imperiled by a string of bad investments. a list of imperiled species
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Recent Examples on the Web The 2020 RITAs have been canceled, and with agencies and numerous members declaring their intentions to boycott the annual summer conference, its fate could be imperiled. Maureen Lee Lenker,, "Romance Writers of America cancels annual RITA awards contest amid racism controversy," 7 Jan. 2020 For yet another year, the tree has turned into something of a landmark for holiday travelers as parties unknown have decorated it with ornaments, keeping up a decades-long tradition that had been imperiled — and not for the first time — by wildfire. Andrew Oxford, azcentral, "Famous tree on I-17 by Sunset Point, hurt by summer fire, is still decorated for Christmas," 25 Dec. 2019 All the same, its grand box office success is as inevitable as its momentarily imperiled happy ending. Todd Mccarthy, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil': Film Review," 15 Oct. 2019 But someone had used a black Sharpie to add a little bump indicating that Alabama had been imperiled. Eugene Robinson, The Mercury News, "Robinson: Trump’s bogus map embodies the man," 6 Sep. 2019 The administration could argue other states face similar challenges and that the mileage rules can be made more flexible without imperiling them. Evan Halper,, "EPA poised to scrap fuel economy targets that are key to curbing global warming — setting up clash with California," 29 Mar. 2018 Around half of these are wild; the other 400 or so are captive, and the nation’s conservation plan hinges on releasing them into the wild—a strategy imperiled by sudden demand from wealthier countries. Paul Kvinta, Outside Online, "I Bought an Elephant to Find Out How to Save Them," 12 Nov. 2019 Idaho’s long-standing procedures were questioned after a CMS audit flagged possible payment errors that, if not corrected, could imperil federal funding. Lexi Churchill, ProPublica, "The Trump Administration Cracked Down on Medicaid. Kids Lost Insurance.," 31 Oct. 2019 Although impeachment could imperil Trump’s presidency, the process has also highlighted Trump’s skill at discrediting his opponents, sometimes with baseless conspiracy theories. San Diego Union-Tribune, "After static summer, Democratic race enters a chaotic fall," 12 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imperil.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of imperil

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for imperil

Middle English inperiled, from in- in- entry 2 + peril peril entry 1 + -ed -ed entry 1

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Time Traveler for imperil

Time Traveler

The first known use of imperil was in the 15th century

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Statistics for imperil

Last Updated

16 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Imperil.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 28 January 2020.

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More Definitions for imperil


How to pronounce imperil (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of imperil

formal : to put (something or someone) in a dangerous situation


im·​per·​il | \ im-ˈper-əl How to pronounce imperil (audio) \
imperiled or imperilled; imperiling or imperilling

Kids Definition of imperil

: to place in great danger They rescued their imperiled comrades.

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More from Merriam-Webster on imperil

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imperil

Spanish Central: Translation of imperil

Nglish: Translation of imperil for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imperil for Arabic Speakers

Comments on imperil

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


showing steady, earnest care and effort

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