peril

noun
per·​il | \ˈper-əl, ˈpe-rəl\

Definition of peril 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

peril

verb
per·​il | \ˈper-əl, ˈpe-rəl\
periled also perilled; periling also perilling

Definition of peril (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to expose to danger

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Examples of peril in a Sentence

Noun

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 McGeary, Time, 25 Oct. 2004 One lesson of both the law-school and the Paulin controversies may be the peril of making free-speech judgments at Internet speed. — Jeffrey Toobin, New Yorker, 27 Jan. 2003 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 Grey, Desert Gold, 1913 People are unaware of the peril these miners face each day. She described global warming as “a growing peril.”

Verb

… 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 Thackeray, Vanity Fair, 1848 a tribute to the men and women who, as firefighters, peril their lives daily

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Trump also could fire both Sessions and Rosenstein — a possibility for which officials at the Justice Department are bracing, although it is widely believed that Sessions faces more immediate peril. Matt Zapotosky, The Seattle Times, "With the midterms over, special counsel Mueller faces key decisions in Russia investigation," 7 Nov. 2018 The people of the Florida panhandle are facing similar peril today as Hurricane Michael bears down on them as a Category 4 storm. Jacqueline Detwiler, Popular Mechanics, "What To Take With You on a Disaster Relief Trip," 11 Oct. 2018 Beyond the peril of the cave itself, the boys didn’t know how to swim, and had never dived before. J. Weston Phippen, Outside Online, "The Daring Rescue that Saved the Thai Soccer Team," 10 July 2018 The lawsuit alleges Modany steered ITT into financial peril as part of a focus on maximizing his severance pay and future career prospects. James Briggs, Indianapolis Star, "Top ITT executives agree to fines, ban from top corporate jobs in SEC settlement," 9 July 2018 The paradox of promise and peril As medical science defeats ever more diseases, even people who become seriously ill are living longer and longer. Houston Chronicle, "How to “live long and prosper”," 7 July 2018 The promise and peril of Alzheimer’s research have caused wild swings among the stocks of drug companies. Peter Loftus, WSJ, "Drugmakers Call Experimental Alzheimer’s Drug Study Positive," 6 July 2018 That’s a critical distinction to make when evaluating the promise and perils of new drugs and medical techniques (and a nuance that can get lost in the hype of headlines). Sy Mukherjee, Fortune, "Scientists Say They've Made Progress on an Artificial Ovary to Help Cancer Patients. There's a Catch," 2 July 2018 Contains intense sequences of science-fiction violence and peril. Anchorage Daily News, "Review: The ‘Jurassic World’ sequel achieves the impossible: It makes dinosaurs boring," 20 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of peril

Noun

13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

1567, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for peril

Noun

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 experience entry 1) 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 fear entry 2). This *per- "test, risk" is then taken further as a semantic derivative of *per- "cross, pass" (see fare entry 1). 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 parturient entry 1) 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.)

Verb

derivative of peril entry 1

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Statistics for peril

Last Updated

21 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for peril

The first known use of peril was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for peril

peril

noun

English Language Learners Definition of 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

noun
per·​il | \ˈper-əl \

Kids Definition of peril

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

peril

noun
per·​il | \ˈper-əl \

Legal Definition of peril 

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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More from Merriam-Webster on peril

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with peril

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peril

Spanish Central: Translation of peril

Nglish: Translation of peril for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of peril for Arabic Speakers

Comments on peril

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