per·​il·​ous | \ ˈper-ə-ləs How to pronounce perilous (audio) , ˈpe-rə- \

Definition of perilous

: full of or involving peril a perilous journey

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Other Words from perilous

perilously adverb
perilousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for perilous

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 perilous in a Sentence

a perilous journey across the mountains a perilous journey through hostile territory
Recent Examples on the Web During a different, less perilous time, that might be acceptable. Frida Ghitis, CNN, 24 Sep. 2021 An article on Sunday about the perilous Darién Gap route many migrants take to reach the United States misstated the geographical definition of the Darién Gap. New York Times, 4 Oct. 2021 The perilous web woven by Atlanta’s Black misleadership class, white wealth, and law enforcement leave justice-seeking communities weary. Essence, 4 Oct. 2021 Still, the idea that Democrats have plenty of time is a perilous one. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 4 Oct. 2021 Hiring behind a wave of multiple projects that started at the same time was a perilous task because there was no certainty of work after the projects ended. Kristina Safarova, Forbes, 4 Oct. 2021 As a result, none of this comes off as very perilous, suspenseful or even credible on its own fantasy terms. Dennis Harvey, Variety, 2 Oct. 2021 Gathered below are images from recent months of some of the thousands of Haitians (and others) making their perilous trip north. Alan Taylor, The Atlantic, 28 Sep. 2021 Six employees died of asphyxiation, others were injured, and still others were traumatized in an event that led to calls for greater safety in the notoriously perilous meatpacking industry. Joshua Sharpe, ajc, 27 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'perilous.' 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 perilous

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for perilous

Middle English perilous, perelous, borrowed from Anglo-French perilleus, perillous, going back to Latin perīculōsus, from perīculum "test, risk, peril entry 1" + -ōsus -ous

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The first known use of perilous was in the 14th century

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perilously close to

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Last Updated

19 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Perilous.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of perilous

: full of danger : dangerous


per·​il·​ous | \ ˈper-ə-ləs How to pronounce perilous (audio) \

Kids Definition of perilous

: dangerous sense 1 a perilous journey

Other Words from perilous

perilously adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on perilous

Nglish: Translation of perilous for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of perilous for Arabic Speakers


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