verb (used without object)
to die or be destroyed through violence, privation, etc.: to perish in an earthquake.
to pass away or disappear: an age of elegance that has forever perished.
to suffer destruction or ruin: His valuable paintings perished in the fire.
to suffer spiritual death: Save us, lest we perish.
perish the thought, may it never happen: used facetiously or as an afterthought of foreboding.

1200–50; Middle English perissen < Old French periss-, long stem of perir < Latin perīre to perish, literally, go through, spend fully, equivalent to per- per- + īre to go

perishless, adjective
perishment, noun
unperished, adjective

1. expire. See die1. 2. wither, shrivel, rot, molder, vanish.

2. appear. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
perish (ˈpɛrɪʃ)
1.  to be destroyed or die, esp in an untimely way
2.  (tr sometimes followed by with or from) to cause to suffer: we were perished with cold
3.  to rot: leather perishes if exposed to bad weather
4.  perish the thought! may it never be or happen thus
5.  informal (Austral) do a perish to die or come near to dying of thirst or starvation
[C13: from Old French périr, from Latin perīre to pass away entirely, from per- (away) + īre to go]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-13c., from periss- prp. stem of O.Fr. perir, from L. perire "to be lost, perish," lit. "to go through," from per- "through, completely, to destruction" + ire "to go." Perishables in reference to foodstuffs is attested from 1895.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idiom beginning with perish, also see publish or perish.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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Example sentences
Publish or perish has long been the burden of every aspiring university
It improves one's ability to teach but makes one question the sacred principle
  of publish or perish.
Another danger is that a worthy experiment with risk-based border controls will
Bleaching occurs when warmer oceans cause corals to lose their symbiotic algae,
  leaving the blanched reefs to slowly perish.
Idioms & Phrases
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