[ pres-uh-pis ]
/ ˈprɛs ə pɪs /


a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.

Origin of precipice

1590–1600; < Middle French < Latin praecipitium steep place, equivalent to praecipit- (stem of praeceps) steep, headlong (prae- pre- + -cipit-, combining form of caput head; see caput) + -ium -ium

Related forms

prec·i·piced, adjectiveun·prec·i·piced, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for precipice

British Dictionary definitions for precipice


/ (ˈprɛsɪpɪs) /


  1. the steep sheer face of a cliff or crag
  2. the cliff or crag itself
a precarious situation

Derived Forms

precipiced, adjective

Word Origin for precipice

C16: from Latin praecipitium steep place, from praeceps headlong
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