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 In 2011, the Brewers had gotten to the precipice of a division title but still had some room for dramatics. Jr Radcliffe, Journal Sentinel, 6 Sep. 2023 Now, at a time when theater chains continue to teeter on the precipice of bankruptcy, this summer’s combined box office squeaked past $4 billion, a key milestone bringing ticket-buying levels back to pre-coronavirus normalcy. Vulture, 6 Sep. 2023 Suddenly Tiafoe, who had given up control of the set a few games before, was on the precipice once more. Matthew Futterman, New York Times, 6 Sep. 2023 Now, on the precipice of Labor Day Weekend, a deal is nowhere in sight. Oliver Darcy, CNN, 31 Aug. 2023 Elliott could impact in short-yardage or vulture a few touchdowns, but the two-time rushing champion is firmly past his prime, while Stevenson is on the precipice of a breakout. Eddie Brown, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Aug. 2023 This fosters a climate of efficiency and positions banks on the precipice of radical evolution. Sixteen Ramos, Journal Sentinel, 29 Aug. 2023 With these and the release of Gladiator 2 next year, Mescal is on the precipice of catapulting into another stratum of fame and cementing his status among the next generation’s great film talents. Harper's BAZAAR, 16 Aug. 2023 The media world was on the precipice of the massive disruption and cascading change that continues today. Greg Borowski, Journal Sentinel, 10 Aug. 2023 See More

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 25 Sep. 2023.

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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