[ pri-kair-ee-uhs ]
/ prɪˈkɛər i əs /


dependent on circumstances beyond one's control; uncertain; unstable; insecure: a precarious livelihood.
dependent on the will or pleasure of another; liable to be withdrawn or lost at the will of another: He held a precarious tenure under an arbitrary administration.
exposed to or involving danger; dangerous; perilous; risky: the precarious life of an underseas diver.
having insufficient, little, or no foundation: a precarious assumption.

Origin of precarious

First recorded in 1640–50, precarious is from the Latin word precārius “obtained by entreaty or mere favor” (hence uncertain). See prayer1


synonym study for precarious

1. See uncertain. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Examples from the Web for precarious

British Dictionary definitions for precarious

/ (prɪˈkɛərɪəs) /


liable to failure or catastrophe; insecure; perilous
archaic dependent on another's will

Derived forms of precarious

precariously, adverbprecariousness, noun

Word Origin for precarious

C17: from Latin precārius obtained by begging (hence, dependent on another's will), from prex prayer 1
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