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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 perilously
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • She was perilously near to tears and her chin would quiver in spite of all that she could do.

    Concerning Sally William John Hopkins
  • Does it strike you that this is perilously near to being gossip?

    The Dominant Strain Anna Chapin Ray
  • For every accent of her voice, every flashing look, moved him perilously.

    The Salamander Owen Johnson
  • He filled a glass of wine and waved it perilously near the Colonel's nose.

    The Wild Geese Stanley John Weyman
  • For one instant he was perilously near to springing on her where she sat, and strangling the life out of her.

    Name and Fame Adeline Sergeant
British Dictionary definitions for perilously


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 perilously



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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