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[per-uh-luh s] /ˈpɛr ə ləs/
involving or full of grave risk or peril; hazardous; dangerous:
a perilous voyage across the Atlantic in a small boat.
Origin of perilous
1250-1300; Middle English < Anglo-French perillous < Latin perīculōsus. See peril, -ous
Related forms
perilously, adverb
perilousness, noun
nonperilous, adjective
nonperilously, adverb
unperilous, adjective
unperilously, adverb
safe. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for perilous
  • Her perilous dash from sandy nest to open sea is the first of many dangerous journeys she makes.
  • The last thousand feet down a steep slope of frozen, windswept scree were especially perilous.
  • The crabs' have a surprising and perilous migration from the island's interior to the sea.
  • Crosswalks can be especially perilous for the elderly.
  • Small significant steps in perilous times keep us moving ahead.
  • The author chronicles his potentially perilous diving search.
  • History is a guide to navigation in perilous times.
  • It is perilous to do so, but you can do it if it does not become a pattern.
  • Jack careens from one perilous predicament to the next.
  • We are in for perilous times.
British Dictionary definitions for perilous


very hazardous or dangerous: a perilous journey
Derived Forms
perilously, adverb
perilousness, noun
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 perilous

c.1300, from Old French perillos "perilous, dangerous" (Modern French périlleux) "dangerous, hazardous," from Latin periculosus "dangerous, hazardous," from periculum "a danger, attempt, risk" (see peril). Related: Perilously; perilousness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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