pre·​car·​i·​ous·​ness pri-ˈker-ē-əs-nəs How to pronounce precariousness (audio)
: the state or condition of being precarious
The noise, the dashing of the waters, … the precariousness of their footing, for there was scarce room for them to stand on the shelf of rock which they had thus attained …Sir Walter Scott
… at a time when a single night of predation could ruin a family, wolves were a constant reminder of the precariousness of frontier life.Betsy Carpenter and Lisa Busch
… has to keep up an air of high spirits through a daily struggle with his own illiteracy and the precariousness of his employment.George Bernard Shaw
His knowledge is fragmentary, his righteousness is illusory, his motives are tainted, but, aware of the precariousness of human striving, he must strive nevertheless.Arthur Meier Schlesinger

Examples of precariousness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For marginalized groups, the precariousness is heightened. Ebony Flake, Essence, 26 Mar. 2024 The subject matter turns persistently to the cabaret and circus, which are intensifiers of life, especially its precariousness and absurdity. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, 15 Dec. 2023 Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit declared bankruptcy last year, while space tug company Momentus and rocket company Astra teeter on the edge, as just a few examples of the current precariousness of the industry. George Dvorsky / Gizmodo, Quartz, 7 Mar. 2024 Even when proportional to the departures of their male counterparts, women’s congressional departures evoke a sense of precariousness of gender progress at the highest levels of political office, at least when progress is measured by numbers alone. Kelly Dittmar, Forbes, 29 Feb. 2024 When there are layoffs, those who survive the cuts are reminded of the precariousness of at-will employment. Roxane Gay, New York Times, 17 Feb. 2024 That precariousness isn’t lost on people struggling to find permanent homes. Andre Mouchard, Orange County Register, 27 Jan. 2024 The Blue Marble shows our home planet in isolation – a living orb in the vacuum of space – simultaneously evoking the splendor and precariousness of our environment. Jonathon Keats, Forbes, 12 Feb. 2024 The precariousness of the enterprise became apparent in early November, when current Masters champ Jon Rahm, citing the commitment TGL would require, pulled out of the league. WIRED, 9 Nov. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'precariousness.' 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

1666, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of precariousness was in 1666

Dictionary Entries Near precariousness

Cite this Entry

“Precariousness.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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