v. per·ished, per·ish·ing, per·ish·es
1. To die or be destroyed, especially in a violent or untimely manner: "Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save those who have no imagination?" (George Bernard Shaw).
2. To pass from existence; disappear gradually: "Man will go down into the pit, and all his thoughts will perish" (A.J. Balfour).
3. Chiefly British To spoil or deteriorate.
To bring to destruction; destroy: "Many foul blights / Perish'd his hard won gains" (Thomas Hood).
perish the thought
Used to express the wish that one not even think about something.
[Middle English perishen, from Old French perir, periss-, to perish, from Latin perīre : per-, per- + īre, to go; see ei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus