precarious

[pri-kair-ee-uhs]
adjective
1.
dependent on circumstances beyond one's control; uncertain; unstable; insecure: a precarious livelihood.
2.
dependent on the will or pleasure of another; liable to be withdrawn or lost at the will of another: He held a precarious tenure under an arbitrary administration.
3.
exposed to or involving danger; dangerous; perilous; risky: the precarious life of an underseas diver.
4.
having insufficient, little, or no foundation: a precarious assumption.

Origin:
1640–50; < Latin precārius obtained by entreaty or mere favor, hence uncertain. See prayer1

precariously, adverb
precariousness, noun
superprecarious, adjective
superprecariously, adverb
superprecariousness, noun
unprecarious, adjective
unprecariously, adverb
unprecariousness, noun


1. unsure, unsteady. See uncertain. 2. doubtful, dubious, unreliable, undependable. 3. hazardous. 4. groundless, baseless, unfounded.


1. secure. 2. reliable. 3. safe. 4. well-founded.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To precarious
Collins
World English Dictionary
precarious (prɪˈkɛərɪəs)
 
adj
1.  liable to failure or catastrophe; insecure; perilous
2.  archaic dependent on another's will
 
[C17: from Latin precārius obtained by begging (hence, dependent on another's will), from prexprayer1]
 
pre'cariously
 
adv
 
pre'cariousness
 
n

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

precarious
1646, a legal word, "held through the favor of another," from L. precarius "obtained by asking or praying," from prex (gen. precis) "entreaty, prayer." Notion of "dependent on the will of another" led to sense "risky, dangerous, uncertain" (1687).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
By focusing on the nation's precarious origins, the poem bolstered nationalism
  at a time when it was sorely needed.
When told of the boys' precarious position, they wanted to help — but
  adopting a teenage war orphan seemed like a huge step.
It is clear that the precarious illusion will soon unravel.
His loyalty to the rest of the crew wavered from fierce to precarious.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;