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precarious

[ pri-kair-ee-uhs ]
/ prɪˈkɛər i əs /
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adjective

dependent on circumstances beyond one's control; uncertain; 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dependent on the will or pleasure of another; liable to be withdrawn or lost at the will of another: He held a precarious tenure under an arbitrary administration.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.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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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.

OTHER WORDS FROM precarious

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

Example sentences from the Web for precarious

British Dictionary definitions for precarious

precarious
/ (prɪˈkɛərɪəs) /

adjective

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
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