prec·​i·​pice ˈpre-s(ə-)pəs How to pronounce precipice (audio)
: a very steep or overhanging place
: a hazardous situation
broadly : brink

Examples of precipice in a Sentence

Twenty years ago, it seemed unlikely that black and white South Africans could avoid a cataclysmic struggle. How did we manage to turn back from the precipice and join one another in the long walk to a nonracial democracy? F. W. De Klerk, Time, 18 Apr. 2005
These are the brave, friendly guys and gals who flip, twist, spin and somersault themselves backward into the sky and somehow land on a horrifyingly steep precipice without rearranging their rib cages or breaking their faces. Curry Kirkpatrick, Newsweek, 21 Feb. 1994
… the helpless Cambodians were bused from the safety of a refugee camp to an outcropping along the border several hundred miles to the northeast, where they were forced over the precipice into a wild and inaccessible part of Cambodia from which it would be almost impossible to return to Thailand. Barbara Crossette, New York Times Book Review, 2 Aug. 1987
He stood on the edge of the precipice. scaled the steep precipice with the ease of an experienced climber
Recent Examples on the Web No love lost between Renault and Volkswagen Talks between Renault and Volkswagen to build the car collapsed after weeks teetering on the precipice. Eleanor Pringle, Fortune Europe, 31 May 2024 And with Ahmed coming back into the fold in the not-so-distant future and Brett Wisely playing far too well to demote, the Giants appear to be on the precipice of sending Luciano — a player with an OPS over 1.000 — back to Sacramento. Dieter Kurtenbach, The Mercury News, 28 May 2024 But when the government finally intervened in 2020 to put an end to risky practices by developers, many companies were already on the precipice of collapse. Siyi Zhao, New York Times, 17 May 2024 Companies stand at the precipice of opportunity, poised to redefine excellence in their respective sectors by embedding gratitude into their core operations. Chris Schembra, Rolling Stone, 16 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for precipice 

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

Word History


French, from Middle French, from Latin praecipitium, from praecipit-, praeceps headlong, from prae- + caput head — more at head

First Known Use

1613, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of precipice was in 1613

Dictionary Entries Near precipice

Cite this Entry

“Precipice.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


prec·​i·​pice ˈpres-(ə-)pəs How to pronounce precipice (audio)
: a very steep and high face of a rock or mountain

More from Merriam-Webster on precipice

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