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[per-ish] /ˈpɛr ɪʃ/
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.
Origin of perish
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
Related forms
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. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for perish the thought


verb (intransitive)
to be destroyed or die, esp in an untimely way
(transitive sometimes followed by with or from) to cause to suffer: we were perished with cold
to rot: leather perishes if exposed to bad weather
perish the thought!, may it never be or happen thus
(Austral, informal) do a perish, to die or come near to dying of thirst or starvation
Word Origin
C13: from Old French périr, from Latin perīre to pass away entirely, from per- (away) + īre to go
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 perish the thought



mid-13c., from periss- present participle stem of Old French perir "perish, be lost, be shipwrecked" (12c.), from Latin perire "to be lost, perish," literally "to go through," from per- "through, completely, to destruction" (see per) + ire "to go" (see ion). Related: Perished; perishing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with perish the thought

perish the thought

Don't even think of it. This expression is used as a wish that what was just mentioned will never happen. For example, He's going to give another speech? Perish the thought! This phrase appeared in Handel's oratorio Joshua (1748; text by Thomas Morell): “It never shall be said that our allies in vain implor'd our aid. Perish the thought!” Also see god forbid


In addition to the idiom beginning with perish also see: publish or perish
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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