Synonym Chooser

How is the word precipitous different from other adjectives like it?

Some common synonyms of precipitous are abrupt, sheer, and steep. While all these words mean "having an incline approaching the perpendicular," precipitous applies to an incline approaching the vertical.

the river winds through a precipitous gorge

When might abrupt be a better fit than precipitous?

The meanings of abrupt and precipitous largely overlap; however, abrupt implies a sharper pitch and a sudden break in the level.

a beach with an abrupt drop-off

When is sheer a more appropriate choice than precipitous?

In some situations, the words sheer and precipitous are roughly equivalent. However, sheer suggests an unbroken perpendicular expanse.

sheer cliffs that daunted the climbers

When would steep be a good substitute for precipitous?

The synonyms steep and precipitous are sometimes interchangeable, but steep implies such sharpness of pitch that ascent or descent is very difficult.

a steep hill
a steep dive

Thesaurus Entries Near precipitous

Cite this Entry

“Precipitous.” Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on precipitous

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