peril

noun
per·​il | \ ˈper-əl How to pronounce peril (audio) , 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 How to pronounce peril (audio) , 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 John Kasich declared a state of emergency and called in the National Guard to distribute bottled water in an incident that served notice that drinking water from Lake Erie was in peril. Tony Briscoe, chicagotribune.com, "How algae blooms and dead zones form in Lake Erie," 14 Nov. 2019 Though guiding such missiles onto a distant moving target is tricky, no navy will be keen on putting several billion dollars and thousands of sailors in peril. The Economist, "Aircraft-carriers are under threat from modern missiles," 14 Nov. 2019 Tuesday’s episode of NBC’s era-jumping family drama put assorted Pearsons in peril. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "This Is Us producers on what's ailing Rebecca — and that fight with Randall," 13 Nov. 2019 The Gophers, at that moment, were in peril of losing. Bob Sansevere, Twin Cities, "Bob Sansevere: Gophers make believers out of Nittany Lions," 9 Nov. 2019 When the Rev-9 has Grace and Dani in peril early on, Sarah Connor (Hamilton) shows up in the nick of time, and will assist them for the rest of the film. Bill Goodykoontz, azcentral, "'Terminator: Dark Fate' review: Gosh, do you think someone will say 'I'll be back?'," 31 Oct. 2019 Layers of complexity As the sea ice melts in the Arctic—which is warming substantially faster than the global average—the food webs living in these icy waters are in peril. Cathleen O'grady, Ars Technica, "As the Arctic heats up, what’s in store for its food webs?," 26 Oct. 2019 Unfortunately, Alabama’s only endangered butterfly species is in peril. Meghan Overdeep, Southern Living, "Colonies of Rare Butterfly Discovered in Alabama by Chance," 25 Oct. 2019 Hamlin led 153 of 277 laps, but two late cautions threatened to put his victory in peril. Ellen J. Horrow, USA TODAY, "Denny Hamlin edges Chase Elliott as Brad Keselowski eliminated from NASCAR playoffs," 20 Oct. 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

21 Nov 2019

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
How to pronounce peril (audio)

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 How to pronounce peril (audio) \

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 How to pronounce peril (audio) \

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

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peril

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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