Etymology: Latin praecipitatus, past participle of praecipitare, from praecipit-, praeceps
a. to throw violently ; hurl <the quandaries into which the release of nuclear energy has precipitated mankind — A. B. Arons> b. to throw down 2. to bring about especially abruptly <precipitate a scandal that would end with his expulsion — John Cheever> 3. a. to cause to separate from solution or suspension b. to cause (vapor) to condense and fall or deposit intransitive verb 1. a. to fall headlong b. to fall or come suddenly into some condition 2. to move or act precipitately 3. a. to separate from solution or suspension b. to condense from a vapor and fall as rain or snow • precipitative adjective • precipitator noun II. noun Etymology: New Latin praecipitatum, from Latin, neuter of praecipitatus Date: 1594 1. a substance separated from a solution or suspension by chemical or physical change usually as an insoluble amorphous or crystalline solid 2. a product, result, or outcome of some process or action III. adjective Date: 1615 1. a. falling, flowing, or rushing with steep descent b. precipitous, steep 2. exhibiting violent or unwise speed • precipitately adverb • precipitateness noun Synonyms: precipitate, headlong, abrupt, impetuous, sudden mean showing undue haste or unexpectedness. precipitate stresses lack of due deliberation and implies prematureness of action <the army's precipitate withdrawal>. headlong stresses rashness and lack of forethought <a headlong flight from arrest>. abrupt stresses curtness and a lack of warning or ceremony <an abrupt refusal>. impetuous stresses extreme impatience or impulsiveness <an impetuous lover proposing marriage>. sudden stresses unexpectedness and sharpness or violence of action <flew into a sudden rage>.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.