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  1. involving or full of grave risk or peril; hazardous; dangerous: a perilous voyage across the Atlantic in a small boat.
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Origin of perilous

1250–1300; Middle English < Anglo-French perillous < Latin perīculōsus. See peril, -ous
Related formsper·il·ous·ly, adverbper·il·ous·ness, nounnon·per·il·ous, adjectivenon·per·il·ous·ly, adverbun·per·il·ous, adjectiveun·per·il·ous·ly, adverb

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for perilous

uncertain, touchy, threatening, hazardous, shaky, treacherous, precarious, unstable, delicate, ticklish, rugged, dicey, risky, chancy, exposed, hairy, insecure, loaded, unhealthy, unsafe

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Contemporary Examples of perilous

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British Dictionary definitions for perilous


  1. very hazardous or dangerousa perilous journey
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Derived Formsperilously, adverbperilousness, 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

Word Origin and History for perilous


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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper