a cliff with a vertical, nearly vertical, or overhanging face.
a situation of great peril: on the precipice of war.
Origin: 1590–1600; < Middle French < Latinpraecipitium steep place, equivalent to praecipit- (stem of praeceps) steep, headlong (prae-pre- + -cipit-, combining form of caput head; see caput) + -ium-ium
1598, "fall to great depth," from Fr. précipice, from L. præcipitium "a steep place," lit. "a fall or leap," from præceps (gen. præcipitis) "steep, headlong, headfirst," from præ- "forth" + caput "head" (see head). Meaning "steep face of rock" is recorded from 1632.