1. An overhanging or extremely steep mass of rock, such as a crag or the face of a cliff.
2. The brink of a dangerous or disastrous situation: on the precipice of defeat.
[French précipice, from Latin praecipitium, from praeceps, praecipit-, headlong; see PRECIPITATE.]
(click for a larger image)precipice
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.