Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • intransitive verb To cause to happen, especially suddenly or prematurely.
  • intransitive verb To cause to fall down from a height; hurl downward.
  • intransitive verb To put suddenly into a certain state or condition.
  • intransitive verb Meteorology To cause (a form of water, as rain or snow) to fall from the air.
  • intransitive verb Chemistry To cause (a solid substance) to be separated from a solution.
  • intransitive verb Meteorology To fall from the air as a form of water, such as rain or snow.
  • intransitive verb Chemistry To be separated from a solution as a solid.
  • adjective Moving rapidly and heedlessly; speeding headlong.
  • adjective Acting with or marked by excessive haste and lack of due deliberation. synonym: impetuous.
  • adjective Occurring suddenly or unexpectedly.
  • noun Chemistry A solid or solid phase separated from a solution.
  • noun A product resulting from a process, event, or course of action.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Fusible white precipitate, colorless crystals, soluble in water (probably of the composition NHg2C1.3NH4Cl), which melt and then decompose on being heated: produced by boiling the infusible white precipitate with a solution of ammonium chlorid.
  • noun An abbreviated term sometimes used to signify the bright yellow precipitate of ammonium phosphomolybdate frequently obtained in analysis as a proof of the presence of, or as the means of quantitatively determining, phosphorus or the radical of phosphoric acid and phosphates.
  • Hurled headlong; plunging or rushing down, as by a steep descent; headlong.
  • Steep; precipitous.
  • Hasty; acting without due deliberation; rash.
  • Hastily brought to pass; speedy; hurried; sudden.
  • Synonyms and Precipitous now always expresses the physical attribute of a headlong steepness; precipitate the moral quality of being very hasty or overhasty. Other uses are obsolete or figurative.
  • noun In Chem., any substance which, having been dissolved in a fluid, falls to the bottom of the vessel on the addition of some other substance capable of producing decomposition of the compound.
  • To cast down headlong; fling from a precipice or height; hurl downward.
  • To cause to fall as a sediment to the bottom of a vessel; reduce from a state of solution to a solid form, as by means of a reagent or chemical force.
  • To drive forcibly; cause to hasten onward.
  • To hasten; bring hastily to pass; hurry up: as, to precipitate a flight.
  • To hasten intemperately or rashly; hence, to spoil; ruin.
  • To fall headlong.
  • To make haste; hurry; proceed without deliberation.
  • In chem., to separate from a solution as a precipitate.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • noun (Chem.) An insoluble substance separated from a solution in a concrete state by the action of some reagent added to the solution, or of some force, such as heat or cold. The precipitate may fall to the bottom (whence the name), may be diffused through the solution, or may float at or near the surface.
  • noun atmospheric moisture condensed as rain or snow, etc.; same as precipitation{5}.
  • noun (Old. Chem) mercuric oxide (HgO) a heavy red crystalline powder obtained by heating mercuric nitrate, or by heating mercury in the air. Prepared in the latter manner, it was the precipitate per se of the alchemists.
  • noun (Old Chem.) A white crystalline substance obtained by adding a solution of corrosive sublimate to a solution of sal ammoniac (ammonium chloride); -- formerly called also fusible white precipitate.
  • intransitive verb rare To dash or fall headlong.
  • intransitive verb rare To hasten without preparation.
  • intransitive verb (Chem.) To separate from a solution as a precipitate. See Precipitate, n.
  • transitive verb To throw headlong; to cast down from a precipice or height.
  • transitive verb To urge or press on with eager haste or violence; to cause to happen, or come to a crisis, suddenly or too soon.
  • transitive verb (Chem.) To separate from a solution, or other medium, in the form of a precipitate.
  • adjective Overhasty; rash.
  • adjective Lacking due deliberation or care; hurried; said or done before the time.
  • adjective Falling, flowing, or rushing, with steep descent; headlong.
  • adjective obsolete Ending quickly in death; brief and fatal.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A product resulting from a process, event, or course of action.
  • noun chemistry A solid that exits the liquid phase of a solution.
  • adjective headlong; falling steeply or vertically.
  • adjective Very steep; precipitous.
  • adjective With a hasty impulse; hurried; headstrong.
  • adjective Moving with excessive speed or haste.
  • adjective Performed very rapidly or abruptly.
  • verb transitive To make something happen suddenly and quickly; hasten.

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin praecipitāre, praecipitāt-, to throw headlong, from praeceps, praecipit-, headlong : prae-, pre- + caput, capit-, head; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin praecipitatum

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin praecipitatus

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin praecipitō ("throw down, hurl down"), from praeceps ("head foremost, headlong"), from prae ("before") + caput ("head").

Examples

  • The word precipitate has appeared in 46 New York Times articles in the past year, including on July 25 in the City Room blog post What Migraine?

    NYT > Home Page

  • Learn more about the word "precipitate" and see usage examples across a range of subjects on the Vocabulary.com dictionary.

    NYT > Home Page

  • He was “queer,” she said; and at another time she called him a crank when describing how he sat at the counter and peered at her through his spectacles, blushing and stammering when she took notice of him, and often leaving the shop in precipitate confusion.

    THE ENEMY OF ALL THE WORLD

  • Unlikely to have randomly slaughtered 20,000 citizens, run the economy into the ground, and indulged in precipitate invasions and international terrorist operations.

    Matthew Yglesias » Carter on Gaza

  • A precipitate is a solid generated out of a solution via chemical reaction.

    Somewhat overgeneralized chemistry analogy of the day

  • Each precipitate is more or less adherent, depending on how it combines with phlogiston and on the quantity of oil, present as an intermediate, available to join coloring particles to cloth. 25 His explanation for the use of this material again relies on a macroscopic analogy based on his practical experience.

    The Creation of Color in Eighteenth-Century Europe

  • In the stock market, it refers to a precipitate decline in prices, usually accompanied by a sharp decline in economic activity.

    Essential Guide to Business Style and Usage

  • In the stock market, it refers to a precipitate decline in prices, usually accompanied by a sharp decline in economic activity.

    Essential Guide to Business Style and Usage

  • The precipitate is skimmed off and dissolved in hot acid alcohol.

    Frederick G. Banting - Nobel Lecture

  • The precipitate is then dissolved in a small quantity of acid water.

    Frederick G. Banting - Nobel Lecture

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.

  • In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. ... Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery?

    Martin Luther King, "Letter From Birmingham Jail"

    November 29, 2011

  • Be careful lest ye precipitate precipitate actions!

    January 19, 2012