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[per-uh l] /ˈpɛr əl/
exposure to injury, loss, or destruction; grave risk; jeopardy; danger:
They faced the peril of falling rocks.
something that causes or may cause injury, loss, or destruction.
verb (used with object), periled, periling or (especially British) perilled, perilling.
to expose to danger; imperil; risk.
Origin of peril
1175-1225; Middle English < Old French < Latin perīculum trial, test, danger, equivalent to perī-, verb base meaning “try” (found in the compound experīrī; see experience) + -culum -cle2
Related forms
perilless, adjective
multiperil, adjective, noun
1. See danger. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for peril
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Just be a little careful, and you are perfectly out of peril.

    Angel Agnes Wesley Bradshaw
  • But nevertheless he could not leave it behind since it was for this he had incurred his present peril.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • It is this peril which we hope to prevent you from falling into with all our strength and all our affection.'

    Joan of Arc Ronald Sutherland Gower
  • Her mind is set on taking it down, yet she will not peril her husband.

    The Armourer's Prentices Charlotte M. Yonge
  • But the breakers, in plain sight, gave us assurance of the peril we had so narrowly escaped.

British Dictionary definitions for peril


exposure to risk or harm; danger or jeopardy
Word Origin
C13: via Old French from Latin perīculum
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for peril

c.1200, from Old French peril "danger, risk" (10c.), from Latin periculum "an attempt, trial, experiment; risk, danger," with instrumentive suffix -culum and element also found in experiri "to try," cognate with Greek peria "trial, attempt, experience," empeiros "experienced," Old Irish aire "vigilance," Gothic ferja "watcher," Old English fær "danger, fear" (see fear (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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