Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[verb pri-sip-i-teyt; adjective, noun pri-sip-i-tit, -teyt] /verb prɪˈsɪp ɪˌteɪt; adjective, noun prɪˈsɪp ɪ tɪt, -ˌteɪt/
verb (used with object), precipitated, precipitating.
to hasten the occurrence of; bring about prematurely, hastily, or suddenly:
to precipitate an international crisis.
to cast down headlong; fling or hurl down.
to cast, plunge, or send, especially violently or abruptly:
He precipitated himself into the struggle.
Chemistry. to separate (a substance) in solid form from a solution, as by means of a reagent.
verb (used without object), precipitated, precipitating.
Meteorology. to fall to the earth's surface as a condensed form of water; to rain, snow, hail, drizzle, etc.
to separate from a solution as a precipitate.
to be cast or thrown down headlong.
a precipitate fall down the stairs.
rushing headlong or rapidly onward.
proceeding rapidly or with great haste:
a precipitate retreat.
exceedingly sudden or abrupt:
a precipitate stop; a precipitate decision.
done or made without sufficient deliberation; overhasty; rash:
a precipitate marriage.
Chemistry. a substance precipitated from a solution.
moisture condensed in the form of rain, snow, etc.
Origin of precipitate
1520-30; (v. and adj.) < Latin praecipitātus (past participle of praecipitāre to cast down headlong), equivalent to praecipit- (stem of praeceps steep; see precipice) + -ātus -ate1; (noun) < New Latin praecipitātum a precipitate, noun use of neuter of praecipitātus
Related forms
precipitately, adverb
precipitateness, noun
precipitative, adjective
precipitator, noun
nonprecipitative, adjective
unprecipitate, adjective
unprecipitately, adverb
unprecipitateness, noun
unprecipitated, adjective
unprecipitative, adjective
unprecipitatively, adverb
Can be confused
precipitate, precipitous.
1. accelerate. 4. crystallize. 12. reckless, impetuous.
1. retard. 12. careful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for precipitate
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
British Dictionary definitions for precipitate


verb (prɪˈsɪpɪˌteɪt)
(transitive) to cause to happen too soon or sooner than expected; bring on
to throw or fall from or as from a height
to cause (moisture) to condense and fall as snow, rain, etc, or (of moisture, rain, etc) to condense and fall thus
(chem) to undergo or cause to undergo a process in which a dissolved substance separates from solution as a fine suspension of solid particles
adjective (prɪˈsɪpɪtɪt)
rushing ahead
done rashly or with undue haste
sudden and brief
noun (prɪˈsɪpɪtɪt)
(chem) a precipitated solid in its suspended form or after settling or filtering
Derived Forms
precipitable, adjective
precipitability, noun
precipitately, adverb
precipitateness, noun
precipitative, adjective
precipitator, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin praecipitāre to throw down headlong, from praeceps headlong, steep, from prae before, in front + caput head
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
Cite This Source
Word Origin and History for precipitate

"to hurl or fling down," 1520s, a back formation from precipitation or else from Latin praecipitatus, past participle of praecipitare "to throw or dive headlong," from praeceps "steep, headlong, headfirst" (see precipice). Meaning "to cause to happen, hurry the beginning of" is recorded from 1620s. Chemical sense is from 1620s; meteorological sense first attested 1863. Related: Precipitated; precipitating.


c.1600, from Latin praecipitatus, past participle of praecipitare "to throw or dive headlong" (see precipitate (v.)). Meaning "hasty" is attested from 1650s. Related: Precipitately.


1560s, probably a back formation from precipitation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
precipitate in Medicine

precipitate pre·cip·i·tate (prĭ-sĭp'ĭ-tāt', -tĭt)

  1. A solid or solid phase separated from a solution.

  2. A punctate opacity on the posterior surface of the cornea developing from inflammatory cells in the vitreous body. Also called punctate keratitis.

v. pre·cip·i·tat·ed, pre·cip·i·tat·ing, pre·cip·i·tates (-tāt')
  1. To cause a solid substance to be separated from a solution.

  2. To be separated from a solution as a solid.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
precipitate in Science
  1. (prĭ-sĭp'ĭ-tāt')

  2. To fall from the atmosphere as rain, snow, or another form of precipitation.

  3. To separate as a solid from a solution in chemical precipitation.

  1. (prĭ-sĭp'ĭ-tāt', -tĭt)

  2. A solid material precipitated from a solution.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
precipitate in Culture
precipitate [(pri-sip-uh-tayt, pri-sip-uh-tuht)]

In chemistry, a solid material that is formed in a solution by chemical reactions and settles to the bottom of the container in which the reaction takes place. A precipitate may also be a substance removed from another by an artificial filter.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for precipitate

Difficulty index for precipitate

Some English speakers likely know this word

Word Value for precipitate

Scrabble Words With Friends