perish

play
verb per·ish \ ˈper-ish , ˈpe-rish \

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

Examples of perish in a Sentence

  1. Two people perished in the fire.

  2. The sailors perished at sea.

  3. The civilization perished after 500 years.

  4. Many ancient languages have perished over time.

  5. The rubber will perish with age.

Recent Examples of perish from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of perish

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

perish Synonyms

Synonyms
check out, conk (out), croak [slang], decease, demise, depart, drop, end, exit, expire, fall, flatline, go, kick in [slang], kick off [slang], pass (on), pass away, part, peg out [chiefly British], die, pop off, step out, succumb
Antonyms
breathe, live
Related Words
predecease; consume, disappear, dry up, fade, fail
Near Antonyms
come to, revive; linger; be, exist, subsist; flourish, prosper, thrive


PERISH Defined for English Language Learners

perish

play
verb

Definition of perish for English Language Learners

  • : to die or be killed

  • : to disappear or be destroyed : to cease to exist

  • : to slowly break apart by a natural process


PERISH Defined for Kids

perish

play
verb per·ish \ ˈper-ish \

Definition of perish for Students

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


Seen and Heard

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

of yeast or being unsettled or frivolous

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!