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

Definition of perilous

: full of or involving peril a perilous journey

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 Commentaries have exalted him as the unyielding leader needed for such perilous times, when China’s ascent could be threatened by domestic economic risks or hostility from the United States and other Western powers. New York Times, 7 Nov. 2021 Feasibility studies showed that a private restaurant would help him keep costs down, a safer bet in these perilous times. Chris Schalkx, Condé Nast Traveler, 24 Aug. 2021 These are perilous times for big-time college sports., 25 June 2021 The approach is perilous, to put it mildly: His boat has to find its way through a narrow slip of jagged rocks to get near enough to dock; there’s no proper mooring, just a spit of concrete on the rocks with a metal ladder to scramble up. Wendy Goodman, Curbed, 20 Dec. 2021 But the weeks or months preceding departure can be just as perilous. Los Angeles Times, 19 Dec. 2021 The first thousand-mile push southward would have been particularly perilous. Ross Andersen, The Atlantic, 7 Sep. 2021 The World has never experienced war that threatens active nuclear power infrastructure, and world leaders may be underestimating the peril conventional warfare presents to these powerful and perilous assets. Craig Hooper, Forbes, 28 Dec. 2021 McKenzie’s military experience with Iran has been perilous and bloody. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 27 Dec. 2021

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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Time Traveler for perilous

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

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perilously close to

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Last Updated

16 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Perilous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for perilous



English Language Learners Definition of perilous

: full of danger : dangerous


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

More from Merriam-Webster on perilous

Nglish: Translation of perilous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perilous for Arabic Speakers


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