precipitous

adjective
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

Approval rates for the visa declined slowly from 2015’s 96 percent to 2017’s 93 percent, before last year’s precipitous downturn, Citizenship and Immigration data shows. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, "H-1B visa: Approvals dropped sharply last year, keep falling this year," 4 June 2019 The site has bedeviled successive Charlotte City Councils for years, ever since Eastland began its precipitous plunge into oblivion starting in the mid-2000s. Ely Portillo And Steve Harrison, charlotteobserver, "One of these plans could save the old Eastland Mall site, as the city tries new ideas | Charlotte Observer," 26 Mar. 2018 Whose precipitous shoulder pads impaired their peripheral vision? Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Who Wore the Biggest Shoulders at the 2019 Met Gala? An Investigation," 7 May 2019 The fact remains that our steel and aluminum industries, previously in a state of precipitous decline, are now being revitalized by President Trump’s policies. WSJ, "Trump’s Metal Tariffs Saving U.S. Industries," 12 Feb. 2019 After three years of precipitous increases, homelessness dipped slightly this year, the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority reported Thursday, providing a hopeful sign that new money flowing into housing and services is having an effect. Dakota Smith, latimes.com, "Homelessness dips in L.A. and countywide, but more people are living on the streets for the first time," 31 May 2018 Hogg, who also saw a precipitous increase in his Twitter following, asked whether somebody, anybody, would run against Gibson. Cleve R. Wootson Jr., Washington Post, "Republican who called Parkland teen a ‘skinhead lesbian’ drops out of Maine House race," 17 Mar. 2018 The islanders were skilled climbers; their lives depended on it since the meat and eggs of seabirds were their main source of protein, and the birds nested and laid their eggs on precipitous and dangerous terrain. Neel Mukherjee, New York Times, "A Veritable No Man’s Land, Off the Coast of Scotland," 7 May 2018 But in a strange, abrupt, precipitous ending, Marjorie does indeed become a Shirley. Marjorie Ingall, Town & Country, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," 4 Dec. 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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Statistics for precipitous

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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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

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

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Comments on precipitous

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