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

An enshrined legal right of California and lower-basin states to demand more Colorado River water could imperil half of Denver’s water supply. Bruce Finley, The Denver Post, "West wrestles with Colorado River “grand bargain” as changing climate depletes water governed by 1922 compact," 25 Aug. 2019 In the Trump era, the divisions that imperil America’s cohesion are about the definition of that freedom. The Economist, "When American evangelicals fall out," 5 July 2019 Though 1984 saw the introduction of the minivan, Chrysler's landmark highly successful reinvention of the family sedan, Iacocca, by his own admission, was making mistakes amid prosperity that imperiled the company again. Donald Woutat,, "Lee Iacocca, father of the Ford Mustang who later rescued Chrysler, dies at 94," 2 July 2019 Both create expectations that can imperil a person’s wellbeing. Matthew De Silva, Quartz, "Social media deserves blame for Kevin Durant’s injury," 18 June 2019 The allure of private gains are wildly destabilizing when selfish actors can place bets that imperil the public good. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "Ars on your lunch break: The fate we might be making for ourselves," 18 June 2019 If convicted, Reader could imperil the prosecution of four members of the Wagner family, according to legal experts. Madeline Mitchell,, "Auditor's report on Pike County Sheriff: Gambling, seized cash and impounded vehicles," 3 Sep. 2019 Environmental groups worry the changes could further imperil the chicken-sized bird known for its elaborate mating rituals. Mead Gruver, The Denver Post, "Forest Service wants to trim habitat for sage grouse in Wyoming and Nevada," 2 Aug. 2019 Rudd's resignation further imperils May's government. Ralph Ellis, CNN, "UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd resigns over immigration scandal," 30 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for imperil

Last Updated

9 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imperil

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

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More Definitions for imperil



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

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