[per-uh l]


exposure to injury, loss, or destruction; grave risk; jeopardy; danger: They faced the peril of falling rocks.
something that causes or may cause injury, loss, or destruction.

verb (used with object), per·iled, per·il·ing or (especially British) per·illed, per·il·ling.

to expose to danger; imperil; risk.

Origin of peril

1175–1225; Middle English < Old French < Latin perīculum trial, test, danger, equivalent to perī-, verb base meaning “try” (found in the compound experīrī; see experience) + -culum -cle2
Related formsper·il·less, adjectivemul·ti·per·il, adjective, noun

Synonym study

1. See danger. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for peril

Contemporary Examples of peril

Historical Examples of peril

  • But nevertheless he could not leave it behind since it was for this he had incurred his present peril.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • "He would do so at the peril of his life, then," said the captain, fiercely.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • Her mind is set on taking it down, yet she will not peril her husband.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • If peril could bring about unity God could bring it about even more effectively.

  • The peril about him was growing—growing, and it was a deadly peril!

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

British Dictionary definitions for peril



exposure to risk or harm; danger or jeopardy

Word Origin for peril

C13: via Old French from Latin perīculum
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 peril

c.1200, from Old French peril "danger, risk" (10c.), from Latin periculum "an attempt, trial, experiment; risk, danger," with instrumentive suffix -culum and element also found in experiri "to try," cognate with Greek peria "trial, attempt, experience," empeiros "experienced," Old Irish aire "vigilance," Gothic ferja "watcher," Old English fær "danger, fear" (see fear (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper