1

peril

noun per·il \ ˈper-əl , ˈpe-rəl \
|Updated on: 4 Jul 2018
1 : exposure to the risk of being injured, destroyed, or lost : danger
  • fire put the city in peril
2 : something that imperils or endangers : risk
  • lessen the perils of the streets

Examples of peril in a Sentence

  1. Just last week he issued a statement encouraging all Iraqis to participate in the election scheduled for January, and he called on the Iraqi government to start registering voters. The powers that be in Iraq ignore him at their peril. —Johanna McGearyTime25 Oct. 2004
  2. One lesson of both the law-school and the Paulin controversies may be the peril of making free-speech judgments at Internet speed. —Jeffrey ToobinNew Yorker27 Jan. 2003
  3. The old man rose and towered over Cameron, and then plunged down upon him, and clutched at his throat with terrible stifling hands. The harsh contact, the pain awakened Cameron to his peril before it was too late. —Zane GreyDesert Gold1913
  4. People are unaware of the peril these miners face each day.

  5. She described global warming as “a growing peril.”

Recent Examples of peril from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of peril

Middle English, borrowed from Anglo-French, going back to Latin perīculum "test, trial, risk, danger," going back to *perei-tlom, from *perei- (of uncertain origin) + *-tlom, instrumental suffix (going back to Indo-European)
Note: Latin perīculum has traditionally been explained as a derivative from a proposed Indo-European verbal base *per- "test, risk," seen also in perītus "practiced, experienced," experior, experīrī "to put to the test, attempt, have experience of, undergo" (see 1experience) and opperior, opperīrī "to wait, wait for"; these have been compared with Greek peîra "trial, attempt, experience," peiráomai, peirâsthai "to make a trial of, attempt," émpeiros "experienced" (see empiric)—going back to *per-i̯a—and more tentatively with Germanic *fērō "pursuit, danger" (see 2fear). This *per- "test, risk" is then taken further as a semantic derivative of *per- "cross, pass" (see 1fare). Alternatively, if the formative -i- represents the Indo-European present-tense suffix *-ei̯-/-i-, Latin peri-/perī- in these words fits naturally with Indo-European *perh3-/pr̥h3- "bring forth, give rise to, produce" (if taken as a middle verb "give rise to within oneself, experience, undergo"), with *pr̥h3-i- yielding Latin pariō, parere "to give birth to" (see 1parturient) and *perh3-ei̯- yielding the per-ī- of perīculum, etc. It is unclear if the base of experior and opperior contains par- or per-, as the simplex verb is not attested. (Cf. Michiel de Vaan, "PIE i-presents, s-presents, and their reflexes in Latin," Glotta, Band 87 [2011], pp. 23-36.)

2

peril

verb per·il \ ˈper-əl , ˈpe-rəl \
periled also perilled; periling also perilling
: to expose to danger

Examples of peril in a Sentence

  1. … she did more harm than all Frederick's diplomacy could repair, and perilled her chance of her inheritance like a giddy heedless creature as she was. —William Makepeace ThackerayVanity Fair1848
  2. a tribute to the men and women who, as firefighters, peril their lives daily

Origin and Etymology of peril

derivative of 1peril


PERIL Defined for English Language Learners

peril

  • : the possibility that you will be hurt or killed or that something unpleasant or bad will happen

  • : something that is likely to cause injury, pain, harm, or loss


PERIL Defined for Kids

peril

noun per·il \ ˈper-əl \
1 : the state of being in great danger
  • The storm put our ship in peril.
2 : a cause or source of danger
  • the perils of skydiving

Law Dictionary

peril

noun per·il \ ˈper-əl \
1 : exposure to the risk of death, destruction, or loss
2 : the cause of a loss (as of property)
  • insured their home against fire, floods, and other perils
— compare risk


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