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

  • adj. Resembling a precipice; extremely steep. See Synonyms at steep1.
  • adj. Having several precipices: a precipitous bluff.
  • adj. Usage Problem Extremely rapid, hasty, or abrupt; precipitate: "The change has included a precipitous collapse of Communist authority” ( New York Times). See Usage Note at precipitate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Steep, like a precipice; as, a precipitous cliff or mountain.
  • adj. Headlong; as, precipitous fall.
  • adj. Hasty; rash; quick; sudden; precipitate; as, precipitous attempts.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Steep, like a precipice.
  • adj. Headlong.
  • adj. Hasty; rash; quick; sudden; precipitate.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Headlong; descending rapidly, or rushing onward.
  • Steep; like a precipice; consisting of precipices: as, precipitous cliffs.
  • Hasty; rash; precipitate.
  • Hastily appearing or passing; sudden.
  • Synonyms and See. precipitate, a.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. done with very great haste and without due deliberation
  • adj. extremely steep


Probably from obsolete precipitious, from Latin praecipitium, precipice; see precipice.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)



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