Dictionary.com
QUIZ
WILL YOU SAIL OR STUMBLE ON THESE GRAMMAR QUESTIONS?
Smoothly step over to these common grammar mistakes that trip many people up. Good luck!
Question 1 of 7
Fill in the blank: I can’t figure out _____ gave me this gift.

Origin of precipitate

First recorded in 1520–30; the verb and adjective derive from Latin praecipitātus (past participle of praecipitāre “to cast down headlong”), equivalent to praecipit- (stem of praeceps “steep”; see precipice) + -ātus past participle suffix (see -ate1); the noun comes from New Latin praecipitātum “a precipitate,” noun use of neuter of praecipitātus

historical usage of precipitate

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

OTHER WORDS FROM precipitate

WORDS THAT MAY BE CONFUSED WITH precipitate

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

British Dictionary definitions for precipitate

precipitate

verb (prɪˈsɪpɪˌteɪt)
adjective (prɪˈsɪpɪtɪt)
noun (prɪˈsɪpɪtɪt)
chem a precipitated solid in its suspended form or after settling or filtering

Derived forms of precipitate

Word Origin for precipitate

C16: from Latin praecipitāre to throw down headlong, from praeceps headlong, steep, from prae before, in front + caput head
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

Scientific definitions for precipitate

precipitate

Verb
(prĭ-sĭpĭ-tāt′)
To fall from the atmosphere as rain, snow, or another form of precipitation.
To separate as a solid from a solution in chemical precipitation.
Noun
(prĭ-sĭpĭ-tāt′, -tĭt)
A solid material precipitated from a solution.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Cultural definitions for precipitate

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 © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
FEEDBACK