pre·​cip·​i·​tous | \ pri-ˈsi-pə-təs How to pronounce precipitous (audio) \

Definition of precipitous

2a : very steep, perpendicular, or overhanging in rise or fall a precipitous slope
b : having precipitous sides a precipitous gorge
c : having a very steep ascent a precipitous street

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Other Words from precipitous

precipitously adverb
precipitousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for precipitous

steep, abrupt, precipitous, sheer mean having an incline approaching the perpendicular. steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult. a steep hill a steep dive abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level. a beach with an abrupt drop-off precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical. the river winds through a precipitous gorge sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse. sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers

Examples of precipitous in a Sentence

There has been a precipitous decline in home sales recently. People were shocked by his precipitous fall from political power.
Recent Examples on the Web Those papers that are left face a precipitous drop in advertising, which has migrated to Google and Facebook. Susan Benkelman, Washington Post, "Local journalism has collapsed. Can anything save it?," 10 July 2020 Coronavirus continued its precipitous rise across the San Antonio region Thursday. Joshua Fechter,, "Bexar County adds 374 COVID-19 cases as officials, hospital leaders beg residents to be careful over Fourth of July weekend," 2 July 2020 Along with massive unemployment, furloughs and pay cuts, there could be more bad news looming for workers due to the spread of Covid-19: a precipitous drop in wage growth. Kathryn Vasel, CNN, "Bracing for a second shutdown," 2 July 2020 As humanity’s hubbub slows due to the coronavirus pandemic, some wildlife is benefiting: Roadkill has taken a precipitous drop in parts of the United States. Cheryl Katz, National Geographic, "Roadkill rates fall dramatically as lockdown keeps drivers at home," 26 June 2020 Peru’s public health system struggled to deal with a precipitous rise in new cases, having been underfunded for years prior to the start of the outbreak. Cassidy Morrison, Washington Examiner, "Latin America is bearing the brunt of the coronavirus," 25 June 2020 Morgan’s Point had an even more precipitous drop percentagewise, with $95,976 received this year, while 2019 saw $137,456, a drop of 30.2 percent. John Delapp, Houston Chronicle, "April sales tax receipts dipped during lockdown for Pasadena, other area cities," 19 June 2020 But there are also alarming steps backward, such as the precipitous decline in Black players in baseball over the past two decades, as well as Black fans. Dana Scott, azcentral, "Diamondbacks honoring Juneteenth reflects Arizona's history of racial diversity in baseball," 19 June 2020 The precipitous drop in global oil production amid the pandemic is being felt around the world, even in rural Myanmar. Grady Mcgregor, Fortune, "The fallout of John Bolton’s China bombshells," 18 June 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'precipitous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of precipitous

1612, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for precipitous

French précipiteux, from Middle French, from Latin precipitium precipice

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Time Traveler for precipitous

Time Traveler

The first known use of precipitous was in 1612

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Statistics for precipitous

Last Updated

14 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Precipitous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for precipitous


How to pronounce precipitous (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of precipitous

: very steep
: happening in a very quick and sudden way
: done too quickly and without enough thought or planning

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