dan·​ger·​ous ˈdān-jə-rəs How to pronounce dangerous (audio)
: involving possible injury, pain, harm, or loss : characterized by danger
a dangerous job
: able or likely to inflict injury or harm
a dangerous man
dangerously adverb
dangerousness noun
Choose the Right Synonym for dangerous

dangerous, hazardous, precarious, perilous, risky mean bringing or involving the chance of loss or injury.

dangerous applies to something that may cause harm or loss unless dealt with carefully.

soldiers on a dangerous mission

hazardous implies great and continuous risk of harm or failure.

claims that smoking is hazardous to your health

precarious suggests both insecurity and uncertainty.

earned a precarious living by gambling

perilous strongly implies the immediacy of danger.

perilous mountain roads

risky often applies to a known and accepted danger.

shied away from risky investments

Examples of dangerous in a Sentence

She got into a car accident while driving through a dangerous intersection. He often drives at dangerous speeds. The city can be a dangerous place to live. The storms may cause dangerous flooding. He is wanted for assault with a dangerous weapon. the most dangerous of drugs See More
Recent Examples on the Web On balance, sure, smart fascists are more dangerous. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 29 Sep. 2023 Their arguments that originalism as a philosophy of constitutional interpretation is unworkable and dangerous are nothing new. Christian Schneider, National Review, 28 Sep. 2023 To me, that is equally dangerous to a bunch of people. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 28 Sep. 2023 At least three former Mossad chiefs have called Netanyahu’s actions on Iran dangerous. Ruth Margalit, New York Times, 27 Sep. 2023 In its defense, eBay said work was already underway to block the sale of dangerous products when the Justice Department filed its lawsuit. Andrew J. Hawkins, The Verge, 27 Sep. 2023 Vehicles that burn gas release carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, which are dangerous on their own. Kaitlin Sullivan, NBC News, 27 Sep. 2023 When hiking in cold conditions, wearing cotton clothing becomes more dangerous due to the risk of hypothermia. Meg Carney, Field & Stream, 27 Sep. 2023 Liberal law enforcement and prosecution policies are making our communities extremely dangerous. Timothy Bella, Washington Post, 27 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dangerous.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


see danger entry 1

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dangerous was in the 15th century

Dictionary Entries Near dangerous

Cite this Entry

“Dangerous.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dangerous. Accessed 4 Oct. 2023.

Kids Definition


dan·​ger·​ous ˈdānj-(ə-)rəs How to pronounce dangerous (audio)
: exposing to or involving danger
a dangerous mission
: able or likely to cause injury
dangerous weapons
dangerously adverb
dangerousness noun

Legal Definition


: creating a risk of bodily injury
a dangerous condition of a public building
: able or likely to inflict especially serious bodily injury
a dangerous criminal with no regard for human life
a dangerous animal
also : deadly
: likely to engage in repeated criminal activity
a dangerous offender

Note: The activity that an offender is likely to engage in need not involve violence in order for the offender to be deemed dangerous.

More from Merriam-Webster on dangerous

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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