Definition of peril in US English:



  • 1Serious and immediate danger.

    ‘a setback to the state could present a peril to the regime’
    ‘his family was in peril’
    • ‘He stated that the mother had brought her daughter into peril and now had an obligation to free her from that peril.’
    • ‘Agitated behavior often develops abruptly and at times has potential for immediate peril.’
    • ‘Let's hope this baby survives the perils of predators while it is unable to fly.’
    • ‘Some of the younger children learned the benefits of healthy eating and how fatty food affects the body, while older pupils were given the chance to learn about the perils of drink, drugs and cigarettes, and how medicine works.’
    • ‘So what mortal peril is going to be thrown at me next, then?’
    • ‘To survive all of these perils you will need specially endowed, magical items.’
    • ‘But he is fully aware of the perils of arrogance and hubris, and he understands the dangers of predicating foreign policy on rhetoric and doctrine rather than reality and expertise.’
    • ‘Some of our favorite pieces help us remember that peril and despair breed hope, not helplessness.’
    • ‘Owners are now changing their routes to avoid the perils of modern technology.’
    • ‘"Then you are a princess, and in mortal peril, " he gasped.’
    • ‘Let's have the villain kidnap the girl and place her in mortal peril!’
    • ‘The thief was probably unaware of the stir that he had caused or that his actions had now put his life in serious peril.’
    • ‘All city motorists have avoided the peril of six, eight or ten penalty points.’
    • ‘And then her son would have no choice but to face the greatest peril of his life.’
    • ‘But demolition work began earlier in October after the Advertiser first highlighted the very obvious perils of the building.’
    • ‘Is there enough time to avoid the obvious environmental perils of our age?’
    • ‘Saunders called a timeout and considered his response to a situation fraught with peril.’
    • ‘The Hague Convention generally protects carriers by sea against the perils of the sea.’
    • ‘Concern is growing among humanitarian aid workers that about 100,000 people are now in imminent peril.’
    • ‘She had almost forgotten where she was, but as the clouds in her mind started to clear she begun to comprehend the perils of her situation.’
    danger, jeopardy, risk, riskiness, hazard, insecurity, uncertainty, menace, threat, perilousness
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1perils The dangers or difficulties that arise from a particular situation or activity.
      ‘she first witnessed the perils of pop stardom a decade ago’
      • ‘Mandatory meetings were launched, in which workers were shown videos ‘exposing’ the perils of labor representation.’
      • ‘H wrote about the pangs of love, the hypocrisy of the rich, the perils of marriage, the transience of happiness and many other topics.’
      • ‘These more independent tourists will be subject to the perils of our dangerous roads.’
      • ‘The best way to safeguard children from the perils of this new technology is by parent control.’
      • ‘This should have been an object lesson in the perils of having a skeptical audience that critiques sources and their objectivity.’
      • ‘A more in-depth understanding can also serve as a buffer against the perils of groupthink.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, some get sucked into the perils of addiction before they know what has hit them.’
      • ‘The core question in that debate is: can a liberal world escape the perils of anarchy?’
      • ‘The perils of contracting out essential services were graphically illustrated to us the other week when we noticed that the sewage drain cover just behind our house was rising ominously.’
      • ‘Around 20 years ago, part of my workaday world was the Old Executive Office Building where I learned first-hand of the perils of perverting power.’
      • ‘I brought it to illustrate the perils of not cleaning your weapons.’
      • ‘It's difficult to advise others about the perils of this kind of lifestyle, especially when one has been sucked into it, albeit on a minor scale compared to some people's levels of borrowing.’
      • ‘British Transport Police officers are warning youngsters not to risk the perils of trespassing on train tracks after they were called to an incident near Skelton.’
      • ‘The worm illustrates the perils of running computers with open file shares.’
      • ‘But he does us a service by highlighting the very real perils of commercialization.’
      • ‘Also, having briefly worked in the magazine business, I know the perils of traditional media: having to keep an army of editorial and freelance people happy (not to mention paid).’
      • ‘Of course, in viewing the somewhat confused and complex world of education, the perils of high office have also been witnessed more locally.’
      • ‘For I have witnessed at first hand the perils of living with a fathers' rights activist who seems to enjoy his campaigning more than the brass tacks of bringing up young children.’
      • ‘This is an object lesson in the perils of trying to improve prose style by legislative fiat.’
      • ‘There are some films, perhaps, that cannot be enjoyed unless you've survived the perils of parenthood.’


[with object]archaic
  • Expose to danger; threaten.

    ‘Jonathon periled his life for love of David’
    • ‘Fear like quivering rain after a lightening bolt periled the air.’
    • ‘This child has periled you in no way.’
    threaten, endanger, imperil, menace, risk, put at risk, expose to risk, put in danger, expose to danger, put in jeopardy, put on the line
    View synonyms


  • at one's peril

    • At one's own risk (used in warnings)

      ‘neglect our advice at your peril’
      • ‘We ignore the risks from increasing antibiotic resistance at our peril.’
      • ‘Alstroemeria are commonly found in floral bouquets and come in a wide variety of colours, though let them loose in your garden at your peril - beautiful though they are, their fleshy roots will spread like wild fire and come up everywhere.’
      • ‘You risk missing this deadline at your peril, as this article from last week explains!’
      • ‘Now you step on it at your peril, and with risk of severe damage to the grass.’
      • ‘It is very clear that we are seeing warning signs that we neglect at our peril.’
      • ‘For all that talk of intellectual mastery, there is another dimension that we're not in control of, and we neglect it at our peril.’
      • ‘Events 80 years ago prove that we ignore that advice at our peril.’
      • ‘As I mentioned earlier, I think it is at our peril that we neglect the future of country racing.’
      • ‘We neglect this aspect of religion at our peril.’
      • ‘When we advise other nations about how to devise better systems of government, our own historical skepticism about the power of pure democracy can be neglected only at our peril.’
  • in (or at) peril of

    • 1Very likely to incur or to suffer from.

      ‘the movement is in peril of dying’
      • ‘At the moment, Canadian women are not in peril of losing their constitutional right to choose.’
      • ‘Will it provide an artistic continuity that is in peril of being lost without public support?’
      • ‘Prison life wends its weary way until one storm-tossed day the Indefatigable chases a Spanish ship so far ashore that the Spanish ship wrecks and puts its crew in peril of drowning.’
      • ‘But we are in peril of having our view of the future obscured by our ignorance of the past.’
      • ‘Questioning in a police inquiry or a background investigation or even a credit check would be in peril of being deemed a search of the person about whom the questions were asked.’
      • ‘Instead of being a soused soldier among many others, he must operate as a secret operative always in peril of discovery and dismissal, continuously struggling to conceal the accent and mannerisms of his mother country.’
      • ‘Worse yet, doesn't he know he's in peril of quickly morphing into a Saturday night highlight?’
      • ‘Today, if a brand isn't engaged in some form of grass roots marketing, it's in peril of being considered woefully out of date.’
      • ‘But if our coming generation of leaders refuses to honestly confront the denial of truth or responsibility which they reflect, our nation will surely be in peril of losing its way in the years ahead.’
      • ‘My point is that our civilization stands in peril of the same grave danger.’
      1. 1.1At risk of losing or injuring.
        ‘anyone linked with the cause would be in peril of their life’
        • ‘It's those who are so eager to kill her who stand in peril of their souls.’
        • ‘To put it another way, the demand for fresh produce and the like exists even in the relatively poor inner cities, but those who try to meet that demand often do so in peril of their lives.’


Middle English: from Old French, from Latin peric(u)lum ‘danger’, from the base of experiri ‘to try’.