per·​il·​ous | \ ˈper-ə-ləs How to pronounce perilous (audio) , 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 European countries have been at odds over how to handle the steady flow of economic migrants and asylum seekers who take the perilous journey across the Mediterranean, often putting themselves in the hands of trafficking mafias. Washington Post, "EU to move evacuated migrants from Italy; 350 still at sea," 23 Aug. 2019 The trek to the southern U.S. border is increasingly perilous because anti-immigrant policies continue to force immigrants to travel through brutal stretches of the desert. Elizabeth King, Allure, "These Immigration Activists Prove On-the-Ground Support Is Crucial Amid Ongoing ICE Raids," 12 Sep. 2019 His low-40s approval rating is already perilous for an incumbent, and the economy is the main factor keeping him afloat. Sahil Kapur, Fortune, "Trump 2020 Re-election May Be at Slowing Economy’s Mercy," 15 Aug. 2019 As the latest budget deal reflects, this rare point of partisan agreement is increasingly perilous to a nation facing unchecked budget deficits and new geopolitical realities. Rebecca U. Thorpe, The Conversation, "One budget line Congress can agree on: Spending billions on the US military," 14 Aug. 2019 The incidents brought home more than the perilous state of affairs between the U.S., its allies and North Korea amid rising tensions with the rogue nuclear power. W.j. Hennigan, Time, "Hawaii’s False Alarm Exposes U.S. Civil Defense Gaps," 18 Jan. 2018 Upon the election of Andrew Jackson, the conflict over the rights of the states had reached a perilous height. Henry W. (henry Washington) Hilliard, Harper's magazine, "The Precipice of Disunion," 16 Sep. 2019 The attacks tend to target immigrants from other parts of Africa, whom rioters accuse of taking jobs—South Africa’s unemployment rate stands at a perilous 29%—or engaging in criminal activities. David Meyer, Fortune, "Arson, Looting and Xenophobic Attacks: Why Tension Is Rising Between Africa’s 2 Biggest Economies," 5 Sep. 2019 The protests have created a perilous environment for companies doing business in Asia's premier financial hub. Julia Horowitz, CNN, "US manufacturing contracted. Here's what comes next," 4 Sep. 2019

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

27 Oct 2019

Time Traveler for perilous

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

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More Definitions for perilous


How to pronounce perilous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of perilous

somewhat formal + literary : full of danger


per·​il·​ous | \ ˈper-ə-ləs How to pronounce perilous (audio) \

Kids Definition of perilous

: dangerous sense 1 a perilous journey

Other Words from perilous

perilously adverb

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Comments on perilous

What made you want to look up perilous? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to engage in dissolute behavior

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