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

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for perish

Synonyms

check out, conk (out), croak [slang], decease, demise, depart, die, drop, end, exit, expire, fall, flatline, go, kick in [slang], kick off [slang], part, pass (on), pass away, peg out [chiefly British], pop off, step out, succumb

Antonyms

breathe, live

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The 2,403 people who perished in Pearl Harbor were not the only victims. Matt Blitz, Popular Mechanics, "Pearl Harbor Still Holds a Few Mysteries," 7 Dec. 2018 Dozens — some as young as 2 — have perished after routine operations, such as colonoscopies and tonsillectomies. USA TODAY, "How a push to cut costs and boost profits at surgery centers led to a trail of death," 2 Mar. 2018 Before the game, please hold a brief moment of silence for family members, pets and shrubbery that have perished in prior Family Thanksgiving Touch Football games. Jason Gay, WSJ, "27 More Rules of Thanksgiving Family Touch Football," 19 Nov. 2018 Last year, construction of Rome's new subway unearthed the charred ruins of an early 3rd-century building and the 1,800-year-old skeleton of a crouching dog that apparently perished in the same blaze that collapsed the structure. James Rogers, Fox News, "Huge hoard of Roman gold coins discovered in Italian theater basement," 10 Sep. 2018 This year's Dangerous Beauty-themed party at The Pierre on April 7th raised over $1 million to save and restore architecture and art that would have otherwise perished through climate change. Sarah Bray, Town & Country, "Two Powerhouse Fashion Families Host a Masquerade Ball," 14 Apr. 2017 Some progressives did well and others floundered; some moderates triumphed and others perished. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The strange argument that Democrats actually lost the midterms, debunked," 9 Nov. 2018 Nearly half a dozen towns were destroyed by the volcano, and a group of archaeologists have made a discovery that reveals how the inhabitants of one of those other towns perished. Avery Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "Mount Vesuvius Caused Romans' Heads to Explode," 10 Oct. 2018 John Jacob Astor VI, whose father perished on the Titanic, was tall, handsome, wealthy, and crazily smitten with his childhood friend. Michael Henry Adams, Town & Country, "Inside the Auction of Eileen Slocum's Astounding Newport Mansion," 28 Sep. 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about perish

Statistics for perish

Last Updated

16 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for perish

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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.

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on perish

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with perish

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for perish

Spanish Central: Translation of perish

Nglish: Translation of perish for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perish for Arabic Speakers

Comments on perish

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

WORD OF THE DAY

to settle judicially or to act as judge

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!