per·​il·​ous | \ ˈper-ə-ləs , ˈpe-rə-\

Definition of perilous

: full of or involving peril a perilous journey

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Other Words from perilous

perilously adverb
perilousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for perilous

dangerous, hazardous, precarious, perilous, risky mean bringing or involving the chance of loss or injury. dangerous applies to something that may cause harm or loss unless dealt with carefully. soldiers on a dangerous mission hazardous implies great and continuous risk of harm or failure. claims that smoking is hazardous to your health precarious suggests both insecurity and uncertainty. earned a precarious living by gambling perilous strongly implies the immediacy of danger. perilous mountain roads risky often applies to a known and accepted danger. shied away from risky investments

Examples of perilous in a Sentence

a perilous journey across the mountains a perilous journey through hostile territory

Recent Examples on the Web

Late last year thousands of people, most from Honduras, made the perilous 2,700-mile journey, much of it on foot. Francis X. Rocca, WSJ, "Pope Brings Pro-Migrant Message to Central America," 24 Jan. 2019 Still, the pacing is brisk and Raza's perilous journey into the London underworld, infiltrating a gang of Albanian bad guys, draws you in. Taylor Antrim, Vogue, "Three New Crime Shows To Get Hooked on Now," 12 Jan. 2019 The ridiculously chaotic run-up to this particular fiasco has resulted in an incoherent application of a very perilous strategy. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "Trump's Tariff Decision May Be His Most Complicated Bungle Yet," 8 Mar. 2018 The clear theme of the 2016 GOP convention was that life in 21st-century American is perilous. Ezra Klein, Vox, "A new theory for why Republicans and Democrats see the world differently," 18 Dec. 2018 Navigating the chaotic schedule that is New York Fashion Week is challenging enough—but try looking put-together while show-hopping in perilous weather conditions, too. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Gigi Hadid Lets Down Her Hair—and Has a Major Wind Machine Moment in New York City," 9 Sep. 2018 Unfolding over six weeks in the summer of 1920, The Woman's Hour is both a page-turning drama and an inspiration for everyone, young and old, male and female, in these perilous times. Devon Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Hillary Clinton and Steven Spielberg Are Bringing a Women's Suffrage Drama to TV," 2 Aug. 2018 Divers made the perilous, two-and-a-half mile journey through darkness, murky waters and narrow passages to reach the boys, huddled in a dry pocket with little food and water. Anna Werner, CBS News, "New video of Thai cave rescue shows just how close divers came to disaster," 11 July 2018 Poor financial management and low staff morale had left it in perilous condition. Bill Turque, kansascity, "Amid charges of gamesmanship, KC Council takes firmer hand with American Jazz Museum | The Kansas City Star," 24 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perilous.' 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 perilous

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for perilous

Middle English perilous, perelous, borrowed from Anglo-French perilleus, perillous, going back to Latin perīculōsus, from perīculum "test, risk, peril entry 1" + -ōsus -ous

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Statistics for perilous

Last Updated

3 Feb 2019

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Time Traveler for perilous

The first known use of perilous was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for perilous



English Language Learners Definition of perilous

somewhat formal + literary : full of danger


per·​il·​ous | \ ˈper-ə-ləs \

Kids Definition of perilous

: dangerous sense 1 a perilous journey

Other Words from perilous

perilously adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on perilous

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for perilous

Spanish Central: Translation of perilous

Nglish: Translation of perilous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perilous for Arabic Speakers

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