What does precarious mean?

Definitions for precarious
prɪˈkɛər i əspre·car·i·ous

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word precarious.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. precarious, unstableadjective

    affording no ease or reassurance

    "a precarious truce"

  2. parlous, perilous, precarious, touch-and-goadjective

    fraught with danger

    "dangerous waters"; "a parlous journey on stormy seas"; "a perilous voyage across the Atlantic in a small boat"; "the precarious life of an undersea diver"; "dangerous surgery followed by a touch-and-go recovery"

  3. precarious, shakyadjective

    not secure; beset with difficulties

    "a shaky marriage"


  1. precariousadjective

    dangerously insecure or unstable; perilous

  2. precariousadjective

    depending on the intention of another

  3. Etymology: From precarius, from prex, precis. Compare French précaire and Spanish, Portuguese and Italian precario.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. PRECARIOUSadjective

    Dependent; uncertain, because depending on the will of another; held by courtesy; changeable or alienable at the pleasure of another. No word is more unskilfully used than this with its derivatives. It is used for uncertain in all its senses; but it only means uncertain, as dependent on others: thus there are authors who mention the precariousness of an account, of the weather, of a die.

    Etymology: precarius, Lat. precaire, Fr.

    What subjects will precarious kings regard,
    A beggar speaks too softly to be heard. Dryden.

    Those who live under an arbitrary tyrannick power, have no other law but the will of their prince, and consequently no privileges but what are precarious. Addison.

    This little happiness is so very precarious, that it wholly depends on the will of others. Joseph Addison, Spectator.

    He who rejoices in the strength and beauty of youth, should consider by how precarious a tenure he holds these advantages, that a thousand accidents may before the next dawn lay all these glories in the dust. John Rogers, Sermons.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Precariousadjective

    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

  2. Precariousadjective

    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

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Precarious

    prē-kā′ri-us, adj. uncertain, because depending upon the will of another: held by a doubtful tenure: depending on chance: dangerous, risky.—adv. Precā′riously.—n. Precā′riousness. [L. precariusprecāri, to pray.]

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How to say precarious in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of precarious in Chaldean Numerology is: 2

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of precarious in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of precarious in a Sentence

  1. The ILO:

    The increase in growth in the informal sector versus a reduction in salaried private sector employment is a sign of how precarious employment is becoming in Latin America.

  2. Marianne Gasser:

    The fighting is putting enormous pressure on civilians, the temperatures are extremely low and, without an adequate supply of food, water and shelter, displaced people are trying to survive in very precarious conditions.

  3. The IEA:

    On the face of it, the oil price appears to be stabilizing. What a precarious balance it is, however, behind the façade of stability, the rebalancing triggered by the price collapse has yet to run its course, and it might be overly optimistic to expect it to proceed smoothly.

  4. One FUNAI worker on strike:

    We travel in precarious boats, without equipment such as a radio or satellite phones.

  5. Mark Lattimer:

    The sheer number of displaced people means the country continues to face a humanitarian crisis... many of them are in a difficult and precarious situation.

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Translations for precarious

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    flee; take to one's heels; cut and run
    • A. scarper
    • B. emanate
    • C. abash
    • D. rumpus

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