Precarious Pre*ca"ri*ous, a. [L. precarius obtained by begging or prayer, depending on request or on the will of another, fr. precari to pray, beg. See {Pray}.] 1. Depending on the will or pleasure of another; held by courtesy; liable to be changed or lost at the pleasure of another; as, precarious privileges. --Addison. [1913 Webster]

2. Held by a doubtful tenure; depending on unknown causes or events; exposed to constant risk; not to be depended on for certainty or stability; uncertain; as, a precarious state of health; precarious fortunes. ``Intervals of partial and precarious liberty.'' --Macaulay. [1913 Webster]

Syn: Uncertain; unsettled; unsteady; doubtful; dubious; equivocal.

Usage: {Precarious}, {Uncertain}. Precarious in stronger than uncertain. Derived originally from the Latin precari, it first signified ``granted to entreaty,'' and, hence, ``wholly dependent on the will of another.'' Thus it came to express the highest species of uncertainty, and is applied to such things as depend wholly on future casualties. [1913 Webster] -- {Pre*ca"ri*ous*ly}, adv. -- {Pre*ca"ri*ous*ness}, n. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • precariously — adv. Precariously is used with these adjectives: ↑balanced, ↑close Precariously is used with these verbs: ↑balance, ↑cling, ↑lean, ↑perch, ↑sway …   Collocations dictionary

  • precariously — precarious ► ADJECTIVE 1) not securely held or in position; likely to fall. 2) dependent on chance; uncertain. DERIVATIVES precariously adverb precariousness noun. ORIGIN Latin precarius obtained by entreaty , from prex prayer …   English terms dictionary

  • precariously — adverb in a precarious manner being a precariously dominant minority is a difficult position for human nature to cope with • Derived from adjective: ↑precarious …   Useful english dictionary

  • precariously — adverb see precarious …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • precariously — See precarious. * * * …   Universalium

  • precariously — adverb In a precarious manner; dangerously …   Wiktionary

  • precariously — prɪ kerɪəslɪ / keÉ™r adv. dangerously, in a risky manner; unstably, unsteadily …   English contemporary dictionary

  • precariously — pre·car·i·ous·ly …   English syllables

  • precariously — See: precarious …   English dictionary

  • precariously adv — I haven t had any tooth decay yet, said Tom precariously …   English expressions

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