Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

precipice

[pres-uh-pis]
See more synonyms for precipice on Thesaurus.com
noun
  1. a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
  2. a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.
Show More

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 formsprec·i·piced, adjectiveun·prec·i·piced, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for precipice

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples


British Dictionary definitions for precipice

precipice

noun
    1. the steep sheer face of a cliff or crag
    2. the cliff or crag itself
  1. a precarious situation
Show More
Derived Formsprecipiced, adjective

Word Origin

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

Word Origin and History for precipice

n.

"steep face of rock," 1630s, from Middle French précipice, from Latin praecipitium "a steep place," literally "a fall or leap," from praeceps (genitive praecipitis) "steep, headlong, headfirst," from prae "before, forth" (see pre-) + caput "head" (see head (n.)). Earlier in English as a verb (1590s) meaning "fall to great depth."

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper