Definition of precipitate in English:

precipitate

Syllabification: pre·cip·i·tate

verb

Pronunciation: /priˈsipəˌtāt
 
/
[with object]
1Cause (an event or situation, typically one that is bad or undesirable) to happen suddenly, unexpectedly, or prematurely: the incident precipitated a political crisis
More example sentences
  • He said: ‘It appears that the death was precipitated by these stressful events which caused him to collapse.’
  • Will our relationship pass the test or will the new situation precipitate a change for the worse?
  • Loss of public confidence underlay the financial and political crisis which precipitated the downfall of a system of government too little changed in its habits and priorities since the days of Louis XIV.
Synonyms
bring about/on, cause, lead to, give rise to, instigate, trigger, spark, touch off, provoke, hasten, accelerate, expedite
1.1Cause to move suddenly and with force: suddenly the ladder broke, precipitating them down into a heap
More example sentences
  • The aging, untended planks, however, crumbled under their surging weight and broke away with a palpable snap, precipitating the struggling pair like so many sacks of sand to the lower level.
  • A light step was heard crossing the floor, as if from the bed to the window; and almost at the same instant the door gave way, and, yielding to the pressure of the external applicants, nearly precipitated them into the room.
Synonyms
hurl, catapult, throw, plunge, launch, fling, propel
1.2 (precipitate someone/something into) Send someone or something suddenly into a particular state or condition: they were precipitated into a conflict for which they were quite unprepared
More example sentences
  • Garbed as they were, admission was refused, which, it is said, precipitated them into forming a founding nucleus to take in other rural dwellers who had suffered similar indignities.
  • Shipwrecks are a constant in this tale, being the main means of precipitating Pericles into his various adventures, like an especially unlucky Odysseus.
  • The criminal would mount the scaffold and stand upon this trapdoor, which would then open, precipitating the person into a fall of some feet.
2 Chemistry Cause (a substance) to be deposited in solid form from a solution.
More example sentences
  • It is then mixed with ammonia to precipitate solid uranium oxide that is of a purer grade.
  • There are also some concerns about the use of sodium bicarbonate, because it may worsen hypocalcemia or precipitate calcium phosphate deposition on various tissues.
  • When substances are precipitated by inorganic or organic processes the material is known as chemical sediment.
2.1Cause (drops of moisture or particles of dust) to be deposited from the atmosphere or from a vapor or suspension.
More example sentences
  • They discovered that sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere allows clouds to precipitate rain in smaller particles.
  • Oxides of sulfur and nitrogen react with water vapor in the atmosphere and then are precipitated out as acid rain.
  • When that vapour is precipitated as rain it carries the acidity with it.

adjective

Pronunciation: /priˈsipətət
 
/
Back to top  
1Done, made, or acting suddenly or without careful consideration: I must apologize for my staff—their actions were precipitate
More example sentences
  • But she certainly stirred a mob reaction in populist manner on an issue that needs sensitive and informed leadership and serious democratic debate, careful and caring thought, not instinctive and precipitate action.
  • The cracking of an old bough, or the hooting of the owl, was enough to fill me with alarm, and try my strength in a precipitate flight.
  • In such instances the will and the courage confronted by some great difficulty which it can neither master nor endure, appears in some to recede in precipitate flight, leaving only panic and temporary unreason in its wake.
Synonyms
hasty, overhasty, rash, hurried, rushed; impetuous, impulsive, spur-of-the-moment, precipitous, incautious, imprudent, injudicious, ill-advised, reckless, harum-scarum
informal previous
literary temerarious
1.1(Of an event or situation) occurring suddenly or abruptly: a precipitate decline in cultural literacy
More example sentences
  • The modest fall-off which ensued was followed by a more precipitate decline in World War I, the result of a cut in mine production occasioned by labour shortages.
  • Real wages increased only slowly, probably not sufficiently to counter the precipitate decline of the handwork trades and the high marginal costs of urban life.
  • It may be that the precipitate fall in the last survey - widely regarded in both the radio and advertising industries as a glitch - is no fluke.

noun

Pronunciation: /priˈsipətət, -əˌtāt
 
/
Chemistry Back to top  
A substance precipitated from a solution.
[from modern Latin praecipitatum]
More example sentences
  • Any silver ions present form a white precipitate (silver chloride).
  • In the cerium precipitates form needle-like crystals.
  • Here they can form precipitates that can be carried many kilometres by bottom currents.

Origin

early 16th century: from Latin praecipitat- 'thrown headlong', from the verb praecipitare, from praeceps, praecip(it)- 'headlong', from prae 'before' + caput 'head'. The original sense of the verb was 'hurl down, send violently'; hence 'cause to move rapidly', which gave rise to sense 1 (early 17th century).

Usage

The adjectives precipitate and precipitous are sometimes confused. Precipitate means ‘sudden, hasty’: a precipitate decision the fugitive’s precipitate flight. Precipitous means ‘steep’: the precipitous slope of the mountain a precipitous decline in stock prices.

Derivatives

precipitable

Pronunciation: /priˈsipətəbəl/
adjective
More example sentences
  • A group of researchers determined that a precipitable and protease-resistant form of the prion protein could be detected in dialyzed urine.

precipitately

Pronunciation: /priˈsipətətlē/
adverb
More example sentences
  • He made child's play of its tricky fingerwork and zipped through prestissimi at double-speed, braking precipitately into a sombre adagio.
  • There is a danger that we act precipitately - I don't want to do that.
  • The hyper-modernism of retro fashions following so precipitately on their originals allows no space for nostalgia, just as its depthless present can neither articulate nor hear a different future.

precipitateness

Pronunciation: /priˈsipətətnəs/
noun
More example sentences
  • In this sense, the first of Descartes's rules of method in the Discourse is an Academic principle, perhaps the only one: to avoid precipitateness and prejudice and to rely only on the one's own ability to discern the truth.

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