Definition of precarious
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Examples of precarious in a Sentence
These states are corrupt and brutal. They are theocracies, or precarious autocracies, or secular totalitarian states: tyrannies all, deniers of freedom, republics of fear, enemies of civility and human flourishing. —Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, 15 Oct. 2001
Such folks led a precarious existence, their homes routinely destroyed in pursuit of a scorched earth policy whenever Florence came under siege. —R. W. B. Lewis, Dante, 2001
She was the first baby he had ever held; he had thought it would be a precarious experience, shot through with fear of dropping something so precious and fragile, but no, in even the smallest infant there was an adhesive force, a something that actively fit your arms and hands, banishing the fear. —John Updike, The Afterlife, 1994
He earned a precarious livelihood by gambling.
The strong wind almost knocked him off of his precarious perch on the edge of the cliff.
Recent Examples of precarious from the Web
Manager Jeff Banister said Gomez has a high tolerance for pain, which could mask the precarious nature of his hamstring.
There are more jobs on the books, and unemployment is at its lowest level in four decades, but many British workers are still facing a precarious balancing act to make ends meet.
Going forward, the EAMENA team plans to keep updating the database, so the public and experts can monitor the precarious reality of many archaeological sites.
The visit puts a focus on the plight of workers whose lives have been made precarious by years of economic crisis, including in Italy where a high jobless rate, especially among young adults, drives many to leave the country.
The visit put a focus on the plight of those whose lives have been made precarious by years of economic crisis, including in Italy where a high jobless rate, especially among young adults, has driven many to leave the country.
However, with his team facing a precarious situation against Glenbrook South in the New Trier Sectional semifinals on Friday, Lim came up big.
The visit puts a focus on the plight of workers whose lives have been made precarious by years of economic crisis.
How valuable is a daily dose of art, in light of our world’s precarious energy situation?
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'precarious'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
This little happiness is so very precarious, that it wholly depends on the will of others. Joseph Addison, in a 1711 issue of Spectator magazine, couldn't have described the oldest sense of precarious more precisely-the original meaning of the word was "depending on the will or pleasure of another." Prayers and entreaties directed at that "other" might or might not help, but what precariousness really hangs on, in the end, is prex, the Latin word for prayer. From prex came the Latin word precarius, meaning "obtained by entreaty," from whence came our own adjective precarious. Anglo-French priere, also from precarius, gave us prayer.
Origin and Etymology of precarious
Latin precarius obtained by entreaty, uncertain — more at prayer
First Known Use: 1646
Synonym Discussion of precarious
PRECARIOUS Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of precarious for English Language Learners
: not safe, strong, or steady
PRECARIOUS Defined for Kids
Definition of precarious for Students
: not safe, strong, or steady precarious balance a precarious journey
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