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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.
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 perils
  • There are perils in signaling how interested you are in the position.
  • There's not enough genetic disparity to ward off the perils of inbreeding.
  • Technology offers incredible capabilities, but also new perils.
  • It's so unfortunate that students are rarely told the perils of the job market until it's too late.
  • Among the perils that could claim a life, poisoning is surprisingly likely.
  • Crazy also has some thoughts on the perils of teaching things that make both professor and students blush.
  • But there are perils when managers can no longer prowl through their own factory.
  • One cautionary tale about the perils of relying on a homogenous food source revolves around the humble potato.
  • Experiences varied among attendees on whether blogging under a real name did indeed present perils.
  • But this tour was a sobering reminder of the perils of living in the tropics.
British Dictionary definitions for perils


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 perils



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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