Definition of peril in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈperəl/


1Serious and immediate danger: his family was in peril a setback to the state could present a peril to the regime
More example sentences
  • Saunders called a timeout and considered his response to a situation fraught with peril.
  • Agitated behavior often develops abruptly and at times has potential for immediate peril.
  • The thief was probably unaware of the stir that he had caused or that his actions had now put his life in serious peril.
danger, jeopardy, risk, hazard, insecurity, uncertainty, menace, threat, perilousness;
pitfall, problem
1.1 (perils) The dangers or difficulties that arise from a particular situation or activity: she first witnessed the perils of pop stardom a decade ago
More example sentences
  • British Transport Police officers are warning youngsters not to risk the perils of trespassing on train tracks after they were called to an incident near Skelton.
  • For I have witnessed at first hand the perils of living with a fathers' rights activist who seems to enjoy his campaigning more than the brass tacks of bringing up young children.
  • Mandatory meetings were launched, in which workers were shown videos ‘exposing’ the perils of labor representation.

verb (perils, periling, periled ; British perils, perilling, perilled)

[with object] archaic
Expose to danger; threaten: Jonathon periled his life for love of David
More example sentences
  • This child has periled you in no way.
  • Fear like quivering rain after a lightening bolt periled the air.



at one's peril

At one’s own risk (used especially in warnings): neglect our advice at your peril
More example sentences
  • Now you step on it at your peril, and with risk of severe damage to the grass.
  • You risk missing this deadline at your peril, as this article from last week explains!
  • Events 80 years ago prove that we ignore that advice at our peril.

in (or at) peril of

Very likely to incur or to suffer from: the movement is in peril of dying
More example sentences
  • At the moment, Canadian women are not in peril of losing their constitutional right to choose.
  • Will it provide an artistic continuity that is in peril of being lost without public support?
  • Worse yet, doesn't he know he's in peril of quickly morphing into a Saturday night highlight?
2.1At risk of losing or injuring: anyone linked with the Republican cause would be in peril of their life
More example sentences
  • It's those who are so eager to kill her who stand in peril of their souls.
  • To put it another way, the demand for fresh produce and the like exists even in the relatively poor inner cities, but those who try to meet that demand often do so in peril of their lives.


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin peric(u)lum 'danger', from the base of experiri 'to try'. The verb dates from the mid 16th century.

  • The fact that trying something new can be dangerous is reflected in the history of peril. It comes via Old French, from Latin peric(u)lum ‘danger, experiment’, formed from experiri ‘to try’.

Words that rhyme with peril

beryl, Cheryl, chrysoberyl, imperil, Merrill, Sheryl

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: per·il

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