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

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 That slowed the treatment process, depleted supplies in water tanks and caused a precipitous drop in pressure. Emily Wagster Pettus, ajc, 15 Sep. 2022 The company’s stock was trading at nearly $200 a share at the start of the year, but has suffered a precipitous drop since, with its market capitalization plunging from $20.5 billion to $6 billion on Friday. Jon Chesto,, 19 Aug. 2022 That precipitous drop raises new concerns about the direction of international student enrollment in U.S. colleges and universities. Michael T. Nietzel, Forbes, 13 Aug. 2022 Taiwan’s main stock index, after a precipitous drop Tuesday, has since clawed back all that ground. Nathaniel Taplin, WSJ, 6 Aug. 2022 Even as California and the Bay Area drop most coronavirus restrictions amid a precipitous decline in cases, COVID-19 is on the rise again in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe. Kellie Hwang, San Francisco Chronicle, 15 Mar. 2022 In the past week, Bitcoin and Ethereum sunk and then popped, both currently trading roughly flat as of Tuesday evening, after having pared some losses from a precipitous decline that began in mid-November (both are still down over 30%). Anne Sraders, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2022 Any slowdown could trigger a precipitous decline in its share price. oregonlive, 9 Jan. 2022 Peak in four weeks and precipitous decline in another two. Julia Musto, Fox News, 1 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

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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The first known use of precipitous was in 1612

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Precipitous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on precipitous

Nglish: Translation of precipitous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of precipitous for Arabic Speakers


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