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dependent on the will or pleasure of another; liable to be withdrawn or lost at the will of another: He held a precarious tenure under an arbitrary administration.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 precariously
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
But it all rests precariously on an unsustainable heap of other peoples' money:
  the capital of capital.
Her brick home near the coast is surrounded by steep lush mountains where
  houses are perched precariously.
The lids rest precariously on push pins above the containers.
Precariously placed platforms shift beneath your weight.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature