View synonyms for perish


[ per-ish ]

verb (used without object)

  1. to die or be destroyed through violence, privation, etc.:

    to perish in an earthquake.

    Synonyms: expire

  2. to pass away or disappear:

    an age of elegance that has forever perished.

    Synonyms: vanish, molder, rot, shrivel, wither

    Antonyms: appear

  3. to suffer destruction or ruin:

    His valuable paintings perished in the fire.

  4. to suffer spiritual death:

    Save us, lest we perish.


/ ˈpɛrɪʃ /


  1. to be destroyed or die, esp in an untimely way
  2. tr sometimes followed by with or from to cause to suffer

    we were perished with cold

  3. to rot

    leather perishes if exposed to bad weather

  4. perish the thought!
    may it never be or happen thus


  1. do a perish informal.
    to die or come near to dying of thirst or starvation

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Other Words From

  • perish·less adjective
  • perish·ment noun
  • un·perished adjective

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Word History and Origins

Origin of perish1

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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of perish1

C13: from Old French périr, from Latin perīre to pass away entirely, from per- (away) + īre to go

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Idioms and Phrases

  1. perish the thought, may it never happen: used facetiously or as an afterthought of foreboding.

More idioms and phrases containing perish

In addition to the idiom beginning with perish , also see publish or perish .

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Synonym Study

See die 1.

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Example Sentences

The story is also a tale of resilience and persistence, as Chihiro gradually draws on her inner strength to endure this land where humans are designed to perish.

From Time

So I’m hoping that when I get back on the road, that part of me will not ever perish again.

It became part of the local culture, a last stop for unwanted cats, who either learned to survive from hunting and food left by visitors or perished.

Her colleague, Second Lieutenant Carol Ann Drazba, also perished.

From Time

One America, King said, was “overflowing with the milk of prosperity and the honey of opportunity,” while in the other, people were “perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity.”

Actually seeing someone perish is horrible for people to see—whether you have covered tough stories in the past or not.

Otherwise, it might be advisable—perish the thought—to start reading newspapers again.

By all accounts he had expected to perish with the other Elders.

World War II offers innumerable opportunities for her to perish during the Blitz.

And those who really feel that they will perish unless they have 32 ounces of Mountain Dew Code Red can simply buy two.

The inheritance of the children of sinners shall perish, and with their posterity shall be a perpetual reproach.

Let him that escapeth be consumed by the rage of the fire: and let them perish that oppress thy people.

It is certain that if this retreat, from which the girls go out married, were to fail, they would perish and be lost.

For my name's sake I will remove my wrath far off: and for my praise I will bridle thee, lest thou shouldst perish.

For the nation and the kingdom that will not serve thee, shall perish: and the Gentiles shall be wasted with desolation.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.