Definition of perish in English:


Line breaks: per¦ish
Pronunciation: /ˈpɛrɪʃ


[no object]
  • 3 (be perished) British informal Be suffering from extreme cold: I was perished with cold before the end of the day
    More example sentences
    • He was not imaginative enough to ask himself whether the man might not be perishing with cold and hunger.


perish the thought

informal Used, often ironically, to show that one finds a suggestion or idea completely ridiculous or unwelcome: he wasn’t out to get drunk—perish the thought!
More example sentences
  • Or even, perish the thought, an expenditure that need not have its results measured in dollars and cents, but as an altruistic good.
  • But perish the thought that you should actually cut your pay.
  • We wouldn't take a brown envelope - perish the thought!


Middle English: from Old French periss-, lengthened stem of perir, from Latin perire 'pass away', from per- 'through, completely' + ire 'go'.

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