perish

verb
per·​ish | \ ˈper-ish How to pronounce perish (audio) , 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], 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

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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

Brown said a majority of those who perished were from Santa Cruz, San Jose and the Bay Area. Rachel Desantis, PEOPLE.com, "33 Bodies Recovered, 1 Missing in Tragic Calif. Diving Boat Fire as Families Mourn Victims," 4 Sep. 2019 The names of those who perished have not been released by officials, but friends and family have identified some of the victims. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Rob Lowe says he sailed on doomed diving boat ‘many times’," 4 Sep. 2019 May God bless the memory of those who perished in Toledo; may God protect them. Phillip Morris, cleveland.com, "Dayton massacre has properly focused Gov. DeWine on gun violence: Phillip Morris," 7 Aug. 2019 If it’s semi-automatic weapons (as in Orlando, Las Vegas, or Newtown), dozens might perish. Rob Reid, Ars Technica, "In the not-so-distant future, “synbio” could lead to global catastrophe—maybe," 18 June 2019 Covarrubias also knew others from the six-person flight crew, all of whom perished in the crash. Fox News, "Sushi-making co-pilot, Nazarene pastors among Cuba victims," 20 May 2018 King thinks it’s likely that Earhart perished on the island as a castaway. Rachel Hartigan Shea, National Geographic, "Colossal crabs may hold clue to Amelia Earhart fate," 20 Aug. 2019 Tiny beads of glass caught in its gill rakers suggest that the creature perished while gasping for air as fire rained from the sky. David Von Drehle, Twin Cities, "David Von Drehle: Digging into our planet’s history," 22 July 2019 Some will perish; contractions always follow explosions. Adam Rogers, WIRED, "Why 'Moon Shot' Has No Place in the 21st Century," 16 July 2019

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

11 Sep 2019

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

formal + literary : to die or be killed
formal : to disappear or be destroyed : to cease to exist
British : to slowly break apart by a natural process

perish

verb
per·​ish | \ ˈper-ish How to pronounce perish (audio) \
perished; perishing

Kids Definition of perish

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

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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

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