precarious

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
Jump to: navigation, search

English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Latin precārius (begged for, obtained by entreaty), from prex, precis (prayer). Compare French précaire and Spanish, Portuguese and Italian precario.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adjective[edit]

precarious (comparative more precarious, superlative most precarious)

  1. (comparable) Dangerously insecure or unstable; perilous.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 4, The Celebrity:
      One morning I had been driven to the precarious refuge afforded by the steps of the inn, after rejecting offers from the Celebrity to join him in a variety of amusements. But even here I was not free from interruption, for he was seated on a horse-block below me, playing with a fox terrier.
  2. (law) Depending on the intention of another.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Because the pre- element of precarious derives from prex and not the preposition prae, this term cannot — etymologically speaking — be written as *præcarious.

Quotations[edit]

  • 1906, Jack London, White Fang, part I, ch III,
    Never had he been so fond of this body of his as now when his tenure of it was so precarious.

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

External links[edit]