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[per-uh-luh s] /ˈpɛr ə ləs/
involving or full of grave risk or peril; hazardous; dangerous:
a perilous voyage across the Atlantic in a small boat.
Origin of perilous
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French perillous < Latin perīculōsus. See peril, -ous
Related forms
perilously, adverb
perilousness, noun
nonperilous, adjective
nonperilously, adverb
unperilous, adjective
unperilously, adverb
safe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for perilously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was perilously near to tears and her chin would quiver in spite of all that she could do.

    Concerning Sally William John Hopkins
  • Traverse was shocked to find how perilously his orders had been exceeded.

    Capitola's Peril Mrs. E.D.E.N. Southworth
  • For every accent of her voice, every flashing look, moved him perilously.

    The Salamander Owen Johnson
  • He began to see how perilously far he had gone in this business.

    The Octopus Frank Norris
  • For one instant he was perilously near to springing on her where she sat, and strangling the life out of her.

    Name and Fame Adeline Sergeant
British Dictionary definitions for perilously


very hazardous or dangerous: a perilous journey
Derived Forms
perilously, adverb
perilousness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for perilously



c.1300, from Old French perillos "perilous, dangerous" (Modern French périlleux) "dangerous, hazardous," from Latin periculosus "dangerous, hazardous," from periculum "a danger, attempt, risk" (see peril). Related: Perilously; perilousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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