verb (used without object)
  1. to die or be destroyed through violence, privation, etc.: to perish in an earthquake.
  2. to pass away or disappear: an age of elegance that has forever perished.
  3. to suffer destruction or ruin: His valuable paintings perished in the fire.
  4. to suffer spiritual death: Save us, lest we perish.
  1. perish the thought, may it never happen: used facetiously or as an afterthought of foreboding.

Origin of perish

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
Related formsper·ish·less, adjectiveper·ish·ment, nounun·per·ished, adjective

Synonyms for perish

Synonym study

1. See die1.

Antonyms for perish

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

British Dictionary definitions for perishment


verb (intr)
  1. to be destroyed or die, esp in an untimely way
  2. (tr sometimes followed by with or from) to cause to sufferwe were perished with cold
  3. to rotleather perishes if exposed to bad weather
  4. perish the thought! may it never be or happen thus
  1. do a perish Australian informal to die or come near to dying of thirst or starvation

Word Origin for perish

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



mid-13c., from periss- present participle stem of Old French perir "perish, be lost, be shipwrecked" (12c.), from Latin perire "to be lost, perish," literally "to go through," from per- "through, completely, to destruction" (see per) + ire "to go" (see ion). Related: Perished; perishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with perishment


In addition to the idiom beginning with perish

  • perish the thought

also see:

  • publish or perish
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.