[pri-sip-i-tey-shuh n]
See more synonyms for precipitation on
  1. the act of precipitating; state of being precipitated.
  2. a casting down or falling headlong.
  3. a hastening or hurrying in movement, procedure, or action.
  4. sudden haste.
  5. unwise or rash rapidity.
  6. Meteorology.
    1. falling products of condensation in the atmosphere, as rain, snow, or hail.
    2. the amount of rain, snow, hail, etc., that has fallen at a given place within a given period, usually expressed in inches or centimeters of water.
  7. Chemistry, Physics. the precipitating of a substance from a solution.

Origin of precipitation

1425–75; late Middle English < Latin praecipitātiōn- (stem of praecipitātiō) a falling headlong. See precipitate, -ion
Related formsnon·pre·cip·i·ta·tion, nounself-pre·cip·i·ta·tion, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for precipitation

Historical Examples of precipitation

British Dictionary definitions for precipitation


  1. meteorol
    1. rain, snow, sleet, dew, etc, formed by condensation of water vapour in the atmosphere
    2. the deposition of these on the earth's surface
    3. the amount precipitated
  2. the production or formation of a chemical precipitate
  3. the act of precipitating or the state of being precipitated
  4. rash or undue haste
  5. spiritualism the appearance of a spirit in bodily form; materialization
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 precipitation

late 15c., "a casting down" (of the evil angels from heaven), also, in alchemy "separation of a solid substance from a solution," from Middle French precipitation (15c.) and directly from Latin praecipitationem (nominative praecipitatio) "act or fact of falling headlong, haste," noun of action from past participle stem of praecipitare "fall, be hasty," from praeceps "steep" (see precipice). Meaning "sudden haste" is c.1500. Meaning "act of falling from a height" is attested from 1610s. Meteorological sense of "rain, snow, dew, etc." is from 1670s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

precipitation in Medicine


  1. The process of separating a substance from a solution as a solid.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

precipitation in Science


  1. A form of water, such as rain, snow, or sleet, that condenses from the atmosphere, becomes too heavy to remain suspended, and falls to the Earth's surface. Different atmospheric conditions are responsible for the different forms of precipitation.
  2. The process by which a substance is separated out of a solution as a solid. Precipitation occurs either by the action of gravity or through a chemical reaction that forms an insoluble compound out of two or more soluble compounds.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

precipitation in Culture


In meteorology, the fall of water, ice, or snow deposited on the surface of the Earth from the atmosphere. In chemistry, a chemical reaction in a solution in which a solid material is formed and subsequently falls, as a precipitate, to the bottom of the container.

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