[per-i-shuh-buh l]


subject to decay, ruin, or destruction: perishable fruits and vegetables.


Usually perishables. something perishable, especially food.

Origin of perishable

First recorded in 1605–15; perish + -able
Related formsper·ish·a·bil·i·ty, per·ish·a·ble·ness, nounper·ish·a·bly, adverbun·per·ish·a·ble, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for perishable

decaying, short-lived, unstable, decomposable, destructible

Examples from the Web for perishable

Contemporary Examples of perishable

Historical Examples of perishable

  • All the works of God are everlasting; the only perishable are some of the works of man.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

  • With crops which are perishable or bulky, "processing" must be performed locally.

  • The defacing finger of Time is visible on all perishable articles.

    Aztec Land

    Maturin M. Ballou

  • Perishable freight and time freight were diverted to other lines.

    Whispering Smith

    Frank H. Spearman

  • But they are gone, and even the perishable labors of their lives outlive them.

    The Nrnberg Stove

    Louisa de la Ram (AKA Ouida)

British Dictionary definitions for perishable



liable to rot or wither


(often plural) a perishable article, esp food
Derived Formsperishability or perishableness, nounperishably, adverb
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 perishable

late 15c., perysabyl, from Middle French périssable, and later (in modern form), 1610s, directly from perish + -able. As a noun, perishables, in reference to foodstuffs, is attested from 1895.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper