c.1500, "sudden haste," from M.Fr. precipitation
(15c.), from L. praecipitationem
) "act or fact of falling headlong, haste," from praecipitare
"fall, be hasty," from praeceps
"steep" (see precipice
). Meaning "act of falling from a height" is attested from 1610s. Meteorological sense of "rain, snow, dew, etc." is from 1670s.