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

As many have said—on air, in print and everywhere else—the casual reduction of Trumpites to Nazis is fraught with overreach and peril. John Anderson, WSJ, "‘Fahrenheit 11/9’ Review: Hot and Bothersome," 20 Sep. 2018 To read the news now is to be made aware of the perils and punishments reserved for people who have their heart set on something remote, who have faith in the faraway. Dana Snitzky, Longreads, "This Month in Books: ‘We Have Nothing to Weigh Our Hearts Against’," 13 June 2018 MacLeod sees promise and peril in how these forthcoming towers reshape not just the city’s plain skyline, but its public realm. Patrick Sisson, Curbed, "Tampa’s transformation: Multibillion-dollar downtown development boom starts on the waterfront," 5 June 2018 The Mountain Lion Foundation, headquartered in Sacramento, says that mountain lions are in peril and need to be saved. Erik Lacitis, The Seattle Times, "State orders pathology tests on cougar that attacked bicyclists," 21 May 2018 In scratchy pen-and-ink and watercolors, spacious landscapes capture both grandeur and peril. Susan Faust, San Francisco Chronicle, "Roundup of children’s books," 24 Feb. 2018 As the White House looks to private companies to invest heavily American infrastructure, this pair of cities offers a unique window into the perks and perils of private dollars in public infrastructure. Jane C. Timm, NBC News, "Case study: Can Trump’s private investment plan really rebuild America?," 13 Feb. 2018 Mozambique’s first-ever Oscar foreign-language film entry is an epic tale of peril and endurance on an arduous cross-country journey. Justin Lowe, The Hollywood Reporter, "'The Train of Salt and Sugar' ('Comboio de Sal e Acucar'): Film Review | Palm Springs 2018," 16 Jan. 2018 Once known for melodramatic TV movies about women in peril, Lifetime has refocused on empowerment in recent years, including efforts to offer real-life support for its audience. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Sparks Debate and a Ratings Hit," 10 Jan. 2019

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

14 Feb 2019

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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

somewhat formal + literary
: 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

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