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

The mountain is notorious for its perilous conditions, and is thought to be one of the most difficult mountains in the world to climb. Ben Kesslen, NBC News, "Recovered GoPro footage gives glimpse into 8 dead Himalayan climbers' treacherous trail," 9 July 2019 And that has proven to be a perilous journey for many. Dana Ferguson, Twin Cities, "Migrant crisis prompts call to action more than 1,000 miles north of the border," 28 June 2019 The administration is betting that the expansion will send a powerful message of deterrence to people in Central America considering undertaking the perilous journey north. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Asylum officers ask court to block Trump's "Remain in Mexico" policy in surprising filing," 27 June 2019 Certainly, Oscar Alberto Martinez Ramirez must have known that his perilous journey to America would be in vain. Dahleen Glanton,, "Column: The drowning of father and daughter crossing the Rio Grande shows migrants’ desperation for asylum, and U.S. determination not to grant it.," 26 June 2019 With experts predicting more perilous conditions to come, Cal Fire is hiring more firefighters, deploying more equipment and spending more money on fire engines, helicopters, air tankers and fire-prevention programs than ever before. Kurtis Alexander, San Francisco Chronicle, "Can California avoid a third year of fire catastrophe? Here’s what’s been fixed — and what hasn’t," 20 June 2019 The Alameda County district attorney’s office built its case around the perilous conditions in a warehouse not designed or licensed as a living space or music venue. Megan Cassidy,, "The Scanner: Ghost Ship defendant to testify, SF public defender’s spokeswoman shown the door," 17 June 2019 Economists worry that Pemex’s perilous financial condition could be a drag on the federal government and compromise public finances, triggering a downgrade of Mexico’s sovereign credit rating and raising the country’s financing costs. Robbie Whelan, WSJ, "Mexico Unveils Plan to Support State Oil Company Pemex," 15 Feb. 2019 Dean said a more extensive secondary search was not completed because of the perilous conditions inside the building. Michael Brice-saddler, The Seattle Times, "Elderly man rescued after spending five days trapped in fire-damaged senior complex," 24 Sep. 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

21 Jul 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 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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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

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 complain fretfully

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