[ pri-sip-i-tuhs ]
/ prɪˈsɪp ɪ təs /


of the nature of or characterized by precipices: a precipitous wall of rock.
extremely or impassably steep: precipitous mountain trails.

Nearby words

  1. precipitation hardening,
  2. precipitin,
  3. precipitin test,
  4. precipitinogen,
  5. precipitious,
  6. precis,
  7. precise,
  8. precisely,
  9. preciseness,
  10. precisian

Origin of precipitous

1640–50; < obsolete French précipiteux; see precipitate, -ous

Related forms
Can be confusedprecipitate precipitous Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for precipitous

British Dictionary definitions for precipitous


/ (prɪˈsɪpɪtəs) /


resembling a precipice or characterized by precipices
very steep
hasty or precipitate
Derived Formsprecipitously, adverbprecipitousness, noun


The use of precipitous to mean hasty is thought by some people to be incorrect

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 precipitous



1640s, "rash, headlong," from obsolete French precipiteux (16c.), from Vulgar Latin *praecipitosus, from praecipitare (see precipitation). Related: Precipitously; precipitousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper