Word of the Day

Sunday, May 19, 2002


\PRES-uh-pis\ , noun;
A very steep, perpendicular, or overhanging place; a cliff.
The brink of a hazardous situation.
Barbara got as close to the edge as she dared and looked down over the precipice.
-- Catherine Whitney, The Calling: The Year in the Life of an Order of Nuns
And then, just like that, there you were, on the edge of the precipice, with everything spread out underneath: the valley, and then, twenty miles off, the shimmering, spangling City.
-- James Kaplan, Two Guys from Verona: A Novel of Suburbia
Mugabe's latest retreat to reason from the precipice of anarchy may have come too late, at least for him.
-- Simon Robinson, "Power to the Mob", Time Europe, May 1, 2000
At that point, no other publication in the world had the technical capability, the organizational latitude, or the raw nerve to operate on the very precipice of disaster the way that Sports Illustrated regularly did.
-- Michael MacCambridge, The Franchise:A History of Sports Illustrated Magazine
Precipice comes from Latin praecipitium, "a precipice," from praeceps, praecipit-, "with head before, headlong, steep," from prae, "before" + caput, "the head."
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