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 Some other minor fisticuffs and perilous sequences. Katie Walsh,, "Parents guide: Advice about films kids may want to see in theaters or opening soon," 4 Dec. 2019 The only way across parts of the constituency is by single-track roads, which feel perilous at the best of times. The Economist, "The battle for the biggest constituency in Britain," 30 Nov. 2019 And heavy rain along with early snow this fall has made fields muddy and potentially perilous for key equipment needed to harvest crops. Dana Ferguson, Twin Cities, "As ‘nightmare’ harvest continues, Minnesota reports uptick in calls to rural helpline," 28 Nov. 2019 To make matters worse, Hart, who suffered a back injury in a perilous auto accident this summer, says Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday of all. Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY, "Ouch! Kevin Hart was totally snubbed from The Rock's 'Jumanji' Thanksgiving celebration," 28 Nov. 2019 The Siskiyou Summit at the border on I-5, typically one of the more perilous sections of freeway along the West Coast corridor in wintery weather, had seen 6 inches of new snow with 10 inches packed on the roadside. Andrew Theen | The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive, "I-5 remains closed at Siskiyou Summit, some Central Oregon highways closed," 27 Nov. 2019 That kind of insular honesty is rare in any kind of art but particularly perilous in cinema. Jelani Cobb, The New Yorker, "The Powerful Perspective of “Queen & Slim”," 27 Nov. 2019 The women first ran on the course about an hour before the men, softening the already muddy grass and making the race all the more perilous. Daniel Petty, The Denver Post, "Colorado men finish third at NCAA cross country champs behind Joe Klecker’s runner-up finish," 23 Nov. 2019 Generational differences, however, can be politically perilous in 2019, when the Democratic left is attuned to candidates’ language about gender relations and issues involving harassment and assault. New York Times, "Bloomberg’s Team Calls His Crude Remarks on Women ‘Wrong’," 14 Nov. 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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Time Traveler for perilous

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for perilous

Last Updated

8 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Perilous.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 14 December 2019.

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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 assail by words or arguments

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