precipitous (adj.) 1640s, "rash, headlong," from obsolete Fr. precipiteux (16c.), from V.L. *praecipitosus, from praecipitare (see PRECIPITATION (Cf. precipitation)). Related: Precipitously. Precipitate (adj.) "hasty" is attested from 1650s.

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  • Precipitous — Pre*cip i*tous, a. [L. praeceps, cipitis: cf. OF. precipiteux. See {Precipice}.] 1. Steep, like a precipice; as, a precipitous cliff or mountain. [1913 Webster] 2. Headlong; as, precipitous fall. [1913 Webster] 3. Hasty; rash; quick; sudden;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • precipitous — UK US /prɪˈsɪpɪtəs/ adjective ► if a reduction is precipitous, it happens very suddenly and is very big: a precipitous decline/drop/fall »The company has seen a precipitous decline in advertising revenue. ► done too quickly without thinking… …   Financial and business terms

  • precipitous — index impulsive (rash), precipitate Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • precipitous — *steep, abrupt, sheer Analogous words: soaring, towering, rocketing, ascending, rising (see RISE) …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • precipitous — ► ADJECTIVE 1) dangerously high or steep. 2) (of a change in a condition or situation) sudden and dramatic. 3) hasty; precipitate. DERIVATIVES precipitously adverb …   English terms dictionary

  • precipitous — [prē sip′ə təs, prisip′ə təs] adj. [MFr precipiteux < LL * precipitosus < L praeceps: see PRECIPICE] 1. steep like a precipice; sheer 2. having precipices 3. PRECIPITATE SYN. STEEP1 precipitously adv. precipitousne …   English World dictionary

  • precipitous — [[t]prɪsɪ̱pɪtəs[/t]] 1) ADJ GRADED: usu ADJ n A precipitous slope or drop is very steep and often dangerous. The town is perched on the edge of a steep, precipitous cliff. Derived words: precipitously ADV GRADED usu ADV after v, also ADV adj The… …   English dictionary

  • precipitous — precipitate, precipitous 1. The two words overlap in meaning and were used interchangeably from the 17c to the 19c. Precipitous has a physical meaning ‘sheer like a precipice’: • There was a precipitous wooden stair to the ground floor A. Craig,… …   Modern English usage

  • precipitous — adjective Etymology: French précipiteux, from Middle French, from Latin precipitium precipice Date: 1646 1. precipitate 2 2. a. very steep, perpendicular, or overhanging in rise or fall < a precipitous slope > b. having precipitous sides < a… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • precipitous — adjective a) Steep, like a precipice; as, a precipitous cliff or mountain. ...humans have been responsible for a precipitous decline of elephants, from perhaps 300,000 in the early 1970s to some 10,000 today. b) Headlong; as, precipitous fall …   Wiktionary

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