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precipitous

[pri-sip-i-tuh s] /prɪˈsɪp ɪ təs/
adjective
1.
of the nature of or characterized by precipices:
a precipitous wall of rock.
2.
extremely or impassably steep:
precipitous mountain trails.
Origin of precipitous
obsolete French
1640-1650
1640-50; < obsolete French précipiteux; see precipitate, -ous
Related forms
precipitously, adverb
precipitousness, noun
unprecipitous, adjective
unprecipitously, adverb
unprecipitousness, noun
Can be confused
precipitate, precipitous.
Synonyms
2. abrupt, sheer, perpendicular.
Antonyms
1, 2. flat, level.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for precipitous
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Behind us rises a precipitous hill, tree-clad to the summit.

    Afloat on the Ohio

    Reuben Gold Thwaites
  • We followed the lower valleys up to their precipitous heads.

    A Set of Six Joseph Conrad
  • The latter were precipitous, especially on the side of the plain, and chiefly in forest.

    The Pioneers James Fenimore Cooper
  • The gorge is deep and exceedingly narrow, and the sides are precipitous.

  • The sides of the ravine were so precipitous that no man could scale them unaided.

    South American Fights and Fighters

    Cyrus Townsend Brady
British Dictionary definitions for precipitous

precipitous

/prɪˈsɪpɪtəs/
adjective
1.
resembling a precipice or characterized by precipices
2.
very steep
3.
hasty or precipitate
Derived Forms
precipitously, adverb
precipitousness, noun
Usage note
The use of precipitous to mean hasty is thought by some people to be incorrect
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 precipitous
adj.

1640s, "rash, headlong," from obsolete French precipiteux (16c.), from Vulgar Latin *praecipitosus, from praecipitare (see precipitation). Related: Precipitously; precipitousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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