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Syllabification: pre·cip·i·tous
Pronunciation: /prəˈsipədəs

Definition of precipitous in English:


1Dangerously high or steep: the precipitous cliffs of the North Atlantic coast
More example sentences
  • Many follow the island's 1,365 miles of irrigation channels, called levadas, stretches of which run along steep slopes with precipitous drops to one side.
  • The monks' view from their cell windows was heart-stopping: a sheer drop down the precipitous wooded ravine sides to the valley floor 1,000 ft. below.
  • The topography of the actual route with its monuments and trails, its rivers and bridges, its steep hills and precipitous valleys, is meticulously represented.
1.1(Of a change to a worse situation or condition) sudden and dramatic: the end of the war led to a precipitous decline in exports
More example sentences
  • Sugar feeds the brain, and fluctuations in the level of this fuel can lead to precipitous changes in a child's mood.
  • The precipitous decrease in size and numbers of American alligators taken for trade reflected a species in decline.
  • Since the 1960s we have witnessed a precipitous increase in the number of marriages ending in divorce.
2(Of an action) done suddenly and without careful consideration: precipitous intervention
More example sentences
  • If our foreign policies are rash, precipitous and not objectively thought out they will harm us domestically.
  • A recognition of this epistemological complexity is itself sufficient to compel the thoughtful interpreter to avoid precipitous decisions.
  • His speech highlighted the growing threat that his administration will launch a new, precipitous military adventure in the near future.


mid 17th century: from obsolete French précipiteux, from Latin praeceps, praecip(it)- 'steep, headlong' (see precipitate).



Example sentences
  • I went through a period in which my rock-n-roll fandom declined precipitously, and this was pretty much all I listened to and spent my money on.
  • As changes spread to other states, voter ‘turnout’ fell precipitously.
  • So at some point, we might have to act precipitously.


Example sentences
  • Whilst welcoming their work, he also indicated his awareness of the precipitousness of literary fame: ‘Now let the book stand on the appointed library shelf in the long, long silence’.

Definition of precipitous in:

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