precipitous

adjective
pre·​cip·​i·​tous | \pri-ˈsi-pə-təs \

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

But after this weekend, the country may undergo a more precipitous decline in democratic freedoms. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Why social media is friend to far-right politicians around the world," 30 Oct. 2018 But two developments in particular led to the precipitous drop, Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology, told me. Alex Ward, Vox, "This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you," 19 Oct. 2018 While the yuan has devalued by about 6.3% since the beginning of the year, Beijing has been fighting to keep the fall from being too precipitous. Bob Davis, WSJ, "Trump and Xi Plan to Meet Amid Trade Tension," 11 Oct. 2018 The departure marked a precipitous fall for Pruitt, who during his roughly 16 months in office took steps to reverse more than a dozen major Obama-era regulations and overhauled key elements of the agency’s approach to scientific research. Brady Dennis And Juliet Eilperin, BostonGlobe.com, "Embattled EPA chief Scott Pruitt resigns," 6 July 2018 The departure marked a precipitous fall for Pruitt, who during his roughly 16 months in office took steps to reverse more than a dozen major Obama-era regulations and overhauled key elements of the agency’s approach to scientific research. Brady Dennis, Washington Post, "Scott Pruitt steps down as EPA head after ethics, management scandals," 5 July 2018 And even though Cohen's livelihood—and perhaps his freedom—hangs in the balance, no one in his boss' orbit seems interested in taking a fall for the man who is already in the process of taking a very precipitous fall, says Vanity Fair. Jay Willis, GQ, "Michael Cohen Is on a One-Way Train to Screwsville," 16 Apr. 2018 The 30-year-old Aussie is of sound mind and body after enduring injury, family tragedy and a precipitous fall from the No. 1 ranking. Edgar Thompson, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Former world No. 1 Jason Day a threat again at Bay Hill after enduring injury and tragedy," 14 Mar. 2018 Going from 68 catches and 1,002 yards with St. Louis in 2016 to 20 catches for 256 yards in 12 games with the Browns is an impressively precipitous fall. Doug Lesmerises, cleveland.com, "Isaiah Thomas joins Brock Osweiler, Kenny Britt, John Rocker in Cleveland Flameout Hall of Fame: Doug Lesmerises," 8 Feb. 2018

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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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for precipitous

The first known use of precipitous was in 1612

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More Definitions for precipitous

precipitous

adjective

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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