Thesaurus

precarious

adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms of precarious

not safe, strong, or steady
  • He earned a precarious livelihood by gambling.
  • She was in a state of precarious health.
  • The government is in a precarious position.
  • The strong wind almost knocked him off of his precarious perch on the edge of the cliff.

Synonyms & Near Synonyms for precarious

Antonyms & Near Antonyms for precarious

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Frequently Asked Questions About precarious

How is the word precarious distinct from other similar adjectives?

Some common synonyms of precarious are dangerous, hazardous, perilous, and risky. While all these words mean "bringing or involving the chance of loss or injury," precarious suggests both insecurity and uncertainty.

earned a precarious living by gambling

Where would dangerous be a reasonable alternative to precarious?

While in some cases nearly identical to precarious, dangerous applies to something that may cause harm or loss unless dealt with carefully.

soldiers on a dangerous mission

When is hazardous a more appropriate choice than precarious?

The words hazardous and precarious can be used in similar contexts, but hazardous implies great and continuous risk of harm or failure.

claims that smoking is hazardous to your health

When is it sensible to use perilous instead of precarious?

The synonyms perilous and precarious are sometimes interchangeable, but perilous strongly implies the immediacy of danger.

perilous mountain roads

In what contexts can risky take the place of precarious?

While the synonyms risky and precarious are close in meaning, risky often applies to a known and accepted danger.

shied away from risky investments

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Time Traveler for precarious

Time Traveler

The first known use of precarious was in 1626

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Thesaurus Entries Near precarious

prearrangements

precarious

precariousness

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Cite this Entry

“Precarious.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/precarious. Accessed 24 Jan. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on precarious

Nglish: Translation of precarious for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of precarious for Arabic Speakers

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