[ pri-kair-i-tee ]


  1. a state of existence in which material provision and psychological wellness are adversely affected by a lack of regular or secure income:

    The precarity that defines this socially vulnerable demographic cannot be ignored.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of precarity1

First recorded in 1955–60; precar(ious) ( def ) + -ity ( def )
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Example Sentences

The pandemic has illustrated the danger of primarily tying one’s employment with the ability to get health care, as job precarity and unemployment exploded as coronavirus spread last year, leaving many communities vulnerable and uninsured.

With its roots in racial and gender justice history, guaranteed income is the ideal tool to combat both the racial injustice and economic precarity brought to the fore in 2020 and that we continue to see today.

From Time

Above her piano, a giant screen started to swing with a slow precarity that seemed to fan the tension.

Often LGBTQ immigrants have borne the brunt of repression, and often still face more precarity than many other LGBTQ Americans.

The incomes of millions living in precarity vanished in an instant, triggering an unprecedented mass migration of daily wage earners from the cities back to their villages.

From Time


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More About Precarity

What is precarity?

Precarity is a state of existence in which someone’s mental health or financial security is out of their control because they don’t have a regular income.

A person who cannot find regular work will have a hard time paying their bills. Equally, this could affect their mental health, causing anxiety, worry, anger, and other negative emotions. Someone in this situation is in a precarious, or uncertain, position. They are experiencing precarity.

Precarity can also be used to describe businesses and financial markets. For example, if you want to invest in a public company, but the company’s market is somewhat stagnant, your investment might be described as precarious and the market as filled with precarity.

Example: In my neighborhood, a lot of people experience precarity and are often looking for work.

Where does precarity come from?

The first records of the term precarity come from around the 1950s. It combines the term precarious, meaning “uncertain or insecure,” and the suffix -ity, which form nouns expressing a state or quality. Precarity effectively means “a state of uncertainty.”

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What are some words that share a root or word element with precarity

What are some words that often get used in discussing precarity?

How is precarity used in real life?

Precarity is normally used in the specific context of financial instability.


Try using precarity!

Is precarity used correctly in the following sentence?

“Luis had a hard time finding work because the construction industry is full of precarity.”