pre·​car·​i·​ty pri-ˈker-ə-tē How to pronounce precarity (audio)
: the state or condition of being precarious : precariousness
The older brother—Dave—raises the younger one, a responsibility that gives him a perpetual sense of life's urgency and precarity.Paul Elie
Job precarity can add to a number of social and economic challenges facing millennials including rising personal debts, growing costs of living, shrinking access to pensions and lower retirement savings.Arif Jetha

Examples of precarity in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Reem and Sunny are terrified by the precarity of their position. Lily Meyer, The Atlantic, 27 Mar. 2024 Soho House, which has recently been fending off suggestions of financial precarity, is most likely banking on this crowd to join. Callie Holtermann, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2024 The precarity of romance is on Musgraves’ mind because … well, really, the idea is never not on her mind. Mikael Wood, Los Angeles Times, 13 Mar. 2024 The recent death of activist Alexei Navalny in a Russian penal colony only underscored the precarity of their situation—and negated the possibility of a prisoner exchange that could have included all three, Charlotte reports. TIME, 7 Mar. 2024 Clearly sensing the precarity of the moment, the White House called a press conference at which Biden forcefully disputed Hur’s characterization. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, 18 Feb. 2024 This can lead not just to economic precarity but also to food insecurity, health complications, and more. Courtney E. Martin, The Christian Science Monitor, 12 Feb. 2024 Such precarity is certainly a fear many people live with, but horror generally starts from the premise that the vibes are off, not the fact that someone anticipated that unraveling. Stephen Kearse, The Atlantic, 26 Jan. 2024 Unsurprisingly, Collins’ works often explored themes of illegitimacy, the precarity of family and the ruptures caused when legal technicalities clashed with emotional bonds. Katherine Hobbs, Smithsonian Magazine, 29 Jan. 2024

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

Word History


probably borrowed from French précarité, from précaire "granted or exercised only with the permission of another, insecure, uncertain" (going back to Middle French, borrowed from Latin precārius "given as a favor, uncertain, precarious") + -ité -ity

First Known Use

1910, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of precarity was in 1910

Dictionary Entries Near precarity

Cite this Entry

“Precarity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Apr. 2024.

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