pre·​car·​i·​ous·​ly pri-ˈker-ē-əs-lē How to pronounce precariously (audio)
: in a precarious manner
These birds suspend their nests precariously among fine twigs …Michael Hansell
… the privilege of a tiny, precariously poised minority.Derek Bickerton
Waiters in white shirts and black vests roamed, trays balanced precariously but with utmost precision.Noah Charney
… it's now balancing precariously on the brink of extinction and has become the first-ever bumblebee to be declared endangered in the US.Laura Dennison

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Images captured by a rescue team showed the battered SUV right-side up, perched precariously on a rocky ledge just above the Pacific Ocean. Tim Stelloh, NBC News, 6 Jan. 2023 Food styling becomes its own choreography when Ho stacks five white bowls precariously and whimsically high, packing the crowning bowl with dumplings and pouring chili over them so that the reddish brown sauce glides down the porcelain, on to the tablecloth, messy and beautifully irreverent. Los Angeles Times, 16 Nov. 2022 Moments later, the vehicle was dangling precariously. John Benson, cleveland, 18 May 2022 But where 21 oceanfront homes once stood shoulder-to-shoulder west of Highway 1, only four remain, clinging precariously to the cliffs. Lindsey J. Smith, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 Apr. 2022 It’s become a precariously lazy position to begin with. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 18 Apr. 2022 In North America alone, monarch butterfly populations are heading precariously close to extinction levels. Washington Post, 4 Apr. 2022 Even supporters of replanting admit it’s not guaranteed to work — especially in Southern California, where forests are small and often precariously perched on modest mountaintops. San Diego Union-Tribune, 19 Sep. 2021 Now, a procession of patients require constant attention, their oxygen levels often dipping precariously low without maximum intervention. New York Times, 27 Aug. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'precariously.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of precariously was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near precariously

Cite this Entry

“Precariously.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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