Definition of precipitous in English:


Line breaks: pre¦cipi|tous
Pronunciation: /prɪˈsɪpɪtəs


  • 1Dangerously high or steep: the track skirted a precipitous drop
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    • 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: a precipitous slide in the government’s popularity
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    • 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, meteoric, headlong, speedy, quick, fast, hurried, breakneck, violent, precipitate, unexpected, without warning, unanticipated, unforeseen
    rare precipitant
  • 2(Of an action) done suddenly and without careful consideration: precipitous intervention
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    • 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.



More 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.


More 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).

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