perish

verb
per·​ish | \ˈper-ish, ˈpe-rish\
perished; perishing; perishes

Definition of perish 

intransitive verb

1 : to become destroyed or ruined : cease to exist recollection of a past already long since perished— Philip Sherrard guard against your mistakes or your attempts (perish the thought) to cheat— C. B. Davis

2 chiefly British : deteriorate, spoil

transitive verb

1 chiefly British : to cause to die : destroy

2 : weaken, benumb

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Synonyms & Antonyms for perish

Synonyms

check out, conk (out), croak [slang], demise, depart, die, drop, end, exit, expire, fall, go, part, pass (on), pass away, succumb

Antonyms

breathe, live

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Examples of perish in a Sentence

Two people perished in the fire. The sailors perished at sea. The civilization perished after 500 years. Many ancient languages have perished over time. The rubber will perish with age.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Thousands of people have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy vessels since 2015. NBC News, "Aid groups rescue migrants from Mediterranean, but welcoming ports dwindle," 4 July 2018 Thousands of people have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy vessels since 2015. Renata Brito, The Seattle Times, "Migrants anxious to start anew in Europe after Libya ‘hell’," 3 July 2018 Thousands of people have perished trying to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy vessels since 2015. Renata Brito, Fox News, "Migrants anxious to start anew in Europe after Libya 'hell'," 3 July 2018 There are no ranks, no mention of the places or circumstances in which the soldiers perished. Isabel Kershner, New York Times, "In Memorial to War Dead, Israel Avoids Addressing Its Conflicts," 16 Apr. 2018 Just weeks after the Hart family perished in a fatal plunge from an ocean overlook along the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California, rescuers were searching for another family feared to have driven into water in the same county. Fox News, "SUV that into river belonged to missing family, officials determine," 13 Apr. 2018 Some posit that the silent apparition with the Gibson Girl hair is the spirit of the 55 horses that perished on that terrible day. Maria L. La Ganga, idahostatesman, "What’s behind ’60s-era paneling at El Korah Shrine? A ballroom’s worth of ’20s art.," 12 July 2018 Most of them had families that perished in the Holocaust. Richard Goldstein, New York Times, "Max Fuchs, G.I. Cantor in Historic Battlefield Service, Is Dead at 96," 4 July 2018 What a disrespect, what an outrageous disrespect to the six million people who perished at that time. NBC News, "Meet the Press - June 17, 2018," 17 June 2018

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

13th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense 1

History and Etymology for perish

Middle English perisshen, from Anglo-French periss-, stem of perir, from Latin perire, from per- detrimentally + ire to go — more at per-, issue entry 1

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Statistics for perish

Last Updated

6 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perish

The first known use of perish was in the 13th century

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More Definitions for perish

perish

verb

English Language Learners Definition of perish

: to die or be killed

: to disappear or be destroyed : to cease to exist

: to slowly break apart by a natural process

perish

verb
per·​ish | \ˈper-ish \
perished; perishing

Kids Definition of perish

: to become destroyed : die Dinosaurs perished long ago. The language slowly perished.

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Comments on perish

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