- to die or be destroyed through violence, privation, etc.: to perish in an earthquake.
- to pass away or disappear: an age of elegance that has forever perished.
- to suffer destruction or ruin: His valuable paintings perished in the fire.
- to suffer spiritual death: Save us, lest we perish.
- perish the thought, may it never happen: used facetiously or as an afterthought of foreboding.
Origin of perish
1200–50; Middle English perissen < Old French periss-, long stem of perir < Latin perīre to perish, literally, go through, spend fully, equivalent to per- per- + īre to go
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
1. expire. 2. wither, shrivel, rot, molder, vanish.
1. See die1.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for perish
By all accounts he had expected to perish with the other Elders.Confessions of a Death Camp Collaborator: Claude Lanzmann’s ‘The Last of the Unjust’
February 7, 2014
World War II offers innumerable opportunities for her to perish during the Blitz.Life After Life
April 7, 2013
And those who really feel that they will perish unless they have 32 ounces of Mountain Dew Code Red can simply buy two.Michael Tomasky: Mayor Bloomberg Is Right to Declare a War on Sugar
June 2, 2012
And that pressure will consist entirely of one message: resist, at all costs, or perish.Barack Obama and the ‘Centrist’ Fantasy About Dealing With the GOP
April 18, 2012
Not an inappropriate night for the Chief Witch to fall off his broomstick and perish in a fierce firefight.Salman Rushdie: Pakistan's Deadly Game
May 2, 2011
It were sin, thought I, that my secret should perish with me.The White Company
Arthur Conan Doyle
If God withdrew His protecting hand, I should perish immediately.An Explanation of Luther's Small Catechism
Mr Verloc never meant Stevie to perish with such abrupt violence.The Secret Agent
Leave Castell and rush for the waist of the ship and so perish, or stay and die there?Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
Like Elizabeth, her "memorial" is short, but it does not "perish with her."Female Scripture Biographies, Vol. II
Francis Augustus Cox
- to be destroyed or die, esp in an untimely way
- (tr sometimes followed by with or from) to cause to sufferwe were perished with cold
- to rotleather perishes if exposed to bad weather
- perish the thought! may it never be or happen thus
- do a perish Australian informal to die or come near to dying of thirst or starvation
C13: from Old French périr, from Latin perīre to pass away entirely, from per- (away) + īre to go
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
Word Origin and History for perish
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with perish
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.