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

But for the defectors, homecoming has largely spelled the opposite: a precipitous fall from power, after a bruising 2018 campaign in which their colleagues called them traitors, snakes and Trump Democrats. New York Times, "Wayward Democrats Return, but Are Still Under Fire," 7 July 2019 The government has diversified Cuba's economy since those years, with new pillars such as tourism in place to protect against such a precipitous fall now. Author: Anthony Faiola, Anchorage Daily News, "As sanctions bite in Cuba, the U.S. — once a driver of hope — is now a source of pain," 24 June 2019 During a 1964 expedition attempt, Kohli survived two avalanches and two precipitous falls. CBS News, "Bodies of 7 missing climbers removed from India's second-tallest mountain," 23 June 2019 Google’s reputation fell 13 spots in Harris’ most recent poll issued in 2019, one of most precipitous declines in the survey. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Three ways YouTube could fight harassment," 6 June 2019 Google’s reputation fell 13 spots in Harris’ most recent poll issued in 2019, one of most precipitous declines in the survey. Theodore Schleifer, Vox, "Why does Washington suddenly seem ready to regulate Big Tech? Look at the polls.," 5 June 2019 Advertising The arrest announced Monday marked a precipitous fall, even by today’s whirlwind standards. James Queally, The Seattle Times, "Lawyer Michael Avenatti, accused of fraud and attempts to extort Nike, is arrested," 25 Mar. 2019 The impact, combined with a precipitous fall in the oil price, caused the value of the ruble to fall by half against the dollar that year. Anatoly Kurmanaev, WSJ, "Putin’s Unlikely Ally in His Standoff With the West: His Central Banker," 20 Aug. 2018 For Ahab as for Lear, obsession is about to cause a precipitous change in circumstances. Daryl H. Miller,, "Review: ‘Moby Dick — Rehearsed’ swims in an ocean of imagination at Theatricum," 14 June 2019

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

11 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for precipitous

The first known use of precipitous was in 1612

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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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