Definition of precipitous in English:

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Pronunciation: /prəˈsipədəs/


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.
steep, sheer, perpendicular, abrupt, sharp, vertical
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.
sudden, rapid, swift, abrupt, headlong, speedy, quick, fast, precipitate
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.



Pronunciation: /prēˈsipədəsnəs/
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’.


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

Words that rhyme with precipitous


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Syllabification: pre·cip·i·tous

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