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

Example Sentences

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 Brief exposure isn’t enough to make people sick, but prolonged exposure — especially for those with respiratory issues — can be dangerous, scientists say. Suman Naishadham, Fortune, 22 Mar. 2023 The loss of labor and delivery services in rural hospitals can be dangerous. Brittany Shammas And Marisa Iati, Anchorage Daily News, 22 Mar. 2023 Travel will be dangerous in the area, with hazardous road conditions impacting morning and evening commutes. Marina Pitofsky, USA TODAY, 22 Mar. 2023 These drugs can be very effective—and a good tool in the toolbox—to help with weight loss in overweight or obese patients, Alan said, but inappropriate use can be dangerous. Laura Hensley, Verywell Health, 21 Mar. 2023 The far-right conspiracy theorist said Trump’s call for protest, ahead of his potential indictment, is dangerous. Prem Thakker, The New Republic, 21 Mar. 2023 The loss of labor and delivery services in rural hospitals can be dangerous. Marisa Iati, Washington Post, 21 Mar. 2023 Leaving pets outside can be dangerous, and sensitive plants should also be brought indoors if possible. Zaeem Shaikh, Dallas News, 18 Mar. 2023 Those smaller objects can still be dangerous, but not on a wide scale. oregonlive, 17 Mar. 2023 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dangerous.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 27 Mar. 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
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Challenging Standardized Test Words, Vol. 2

  • a pencil broken in half on top of a test answer sheet
  • The business’s new computer system proved not to be a panacea.
Spell It

Hear a word and type it out. How many can you get right?

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?