1. Resembling a precipice; extremely steep. See Synonyms at steep1.
2. Having several precipices: a precipitous bluff.
3. Extremely rapid, hasty, or abrupt; precipitate: a precipitous collapse in prices. See Usage Note at precipitate.
[Probably from obsolete precipitious, from Latin praecipitium, precipice; see PRECIPICE.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 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.