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Origin of precipitate

First recorded in 1520鈥30; the verb and adjective derive from Latin praecipit膩tus (past participle of praecipit膩re 鈥渢o cast down headlong鈥), equivalent to praecipit- (stem of praeceps 鈥渟teep鈥; see precipice) + -膩tus past participle suffix (see -ate1); the noun comes from New Latin praecipit膩tum 鈥渁 precipitate,鈥 noun use of neuter of praecipit膩tus

historical usage of precipitate

The verb precipitate comes from Latin praecipit膩t-, the past participle stem of praecipit膩re 鈥渢o fall headlong, leap down, hurl or throw down, throw overboard,鈥 a derivative of the adjective praeceps (stem praecipit- ) 鈥渇alling headlong, impetuous (in action), advanced in age, declining, abrupt, sudden.鈥 Praeceps is formed from the adverb, preposition, and prefix prae, prae- 鈥渋n front, ahead鈥 and -ceps (stem -cepit- ), a combining form of caput (stem capit- ) 鈥渉ead鈥; praeceps literally means 鈥渉eadfirst.鈥
The chemical sense of precipitate, 鈥渢o separate (a substance) in solid form from a solution,鈥 first appears in New Latin praecipit膩re at the end of the 15th century, and is first recorded in English in the 17th century. The related meteorological sense 鈥渢o fall to earth as rain, snow, hail, or drizzle鈥 dates from the end of the 18th century.

OTHER WORDS FROM precipitate


precipitate , precipitous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, 漏 Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use precipitate in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for precipitate


verb (pr瑟藞s瑟p瑟藢te瑟t)
adjective (pr瑟藞s瑟p瑟t瑟t)
noun (pr瑟藞s瑟p瑟t瑟t)
chem a precipitated solid in its suspended form or after settling or filtering

Derived forms of precipitate

Word Origin for precipitate

C16: from Latin praecipit膩re to throw down headlong, from praeceps headlong, steep, from prae before, in front + caput head
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition 漏 William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 漏 HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Scientific definitions for precipitate


To fall from the atmosphere as rain, snow, or another form of precipitation.
To separate as a solid from a solution in chemical precipitation.
(pr沫-s沫p沫-t膩t鈥, -t沫t)
A solid material precipitated from a solution.
The American Heritage庐 Science Dictionary Copyright 漏 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for precipitate

[ (pri-sip-uh-tayt, pri-sip-uh-tuht) ]

In chemistry, a solid material that is formed in a solution by chemical reactions and settles to the bottom of the container in which the reaction takes place. A precipitate may also be a substance removed from another by an artificial filter.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright 漏 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.