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:

  • precariousness — index danger, doubt (indecision), hazard, jeopardy, peril, predicament, risk Burton s Legal Thesaurus …   Law dictionary

  • precariousness — noun A state of being uncertain or unstable. The precariousness of political relations between the two countries could lead to war …   Wiktionary

  • precariousness — 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

  • precariousness — noun 1. extreme dangerousness • Derivationally related forms: ↑precarious • Hypernyms: ↑dangerousness 2. being unsettled or in doubt or dependent on chance the uncertainty of the outcome the precariousness of his income …   Useful english dictionary

  • precariousness — noun see precarious …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • precariousness — See precariously. * * * …   Universalium

  • precariousness — (Roget s Thesaurus II) noun 1. The quality or condition of being physically unsteady: instability, ricketiness, shakiness, unstableness, unsteadiness, wobbliness. See FLEXIBLE. 2. The quality or condition of being erratic and undependable:… …   English dictionary for students

  • precariousness — pre car·i·ous·ness || prɪ kerɪənɪs / keÉ™r n. risk, peril; danger, hazard; insecurity, instability, unsureness …   English contemporary dictionary

  • precariousness — pre·car·i·ous·ness …   English syllables

  • precariousness — See: precarious …   English dictionary

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