- The definition of precipitate is something that happens suddenly, falls steeply or acts quickly.
An example of precipitate is jumping from a sinking ship without a life vest.
- Precipitate is defined as to throw something downward or cause something to happen before expected.
An example of precipitate is a car driving off a cliff.
transitive verb-·tat·ed, -·tat·ing
- to throw headlong; hurl downward
- to cause to happen before expected, warranted, needed, or desired; bring on; hasten: to precipitate a crisis
- to cause (a slightly soluble substance) to become insoluble, as by heat or by a chemical reagent, and separate out from a solution
- to cause the separation of a suspended liquid or solid from a gas
- Meteorol. to condense (water vapor) and cause to fall to the ground as rain, snow, sleet, etc.
Origin of precipitatefrom Classical Latin praecipitatus, past participle of praecipitare from praeceps: see precipice
- Chem. to be precipitated
- Meteorol. to condense and fall to the ground as rain, snow, sleet, etc.
- falling steeply, rushing headlong, flowing swiftly, etc.
- acting, happening, or done very hastily or rashly; impetuous; headstrong
- very sudden, unexpected, or abrupt
Origin of precipitateL praecipitatus: see precipitatethe transitive verb
Origin of precipitateModL praecipitatum
verbpre·cip·i·tat·ed, pre·cip·i·tat·ing, pre·cip·i·tates
- To cause to happen, especially suddenly or prematurely: an announcement that precipitated a political crisis.
- To cause to fall down from a height; hurl downward: “The finest bridge in all Peru broke and precipitated five travelers into the gulf below” ( Thornton Wilder )
- To put suddenly into a certain state or condition: “He was like a man who had never known liberty and was all at once precipitated into it” ( Taylor Caldwell )
- Meteorology To cause (a form of water, as rain or snow) to fall from the air.
- Chemistry To cause (a solid substance) to be separated from a solution.
- Meteorology To fall from the air as a form of water, such as rain or snow.
- Chemistry To be separated from a solution as a solid.
- Moving rapidly and heedlessly; speeding headlong.
- Acting with or marked by excessive haste and lack of due deliberation. See Synonyms at impetuous.
- Occurring suddenly or unexpectedly.
- Chemistry A solid or solid phase separated from a solution.
- A product resulting from a process, event, or course of action.
Origin of precipitateLatin praecipitāre praecipitāt- to throw headlong from praeceps praecipit- headlong prae- pre- caput capit- head ; see kaput- in Indo-European roots.
Usage Note: The adjective precipitate and the adverb precipitately were once applied to physical steepness but are now used primarily of rash, headlong actions: Their precipitate entry into the foreign markets led to disaster. He withdrew precipitately from the race. Precipitous currently means “steep” in both literal and figurative senses: the precipitous rapids of the upper river; a precipitous drop in commodity prices. But precipitous and precipitously are also frequently used to mean “abrupt, hasty,” which takes them into territory that would ordinarily belong to precipitate and precipitately: their precipitous decision to leave. Many people object to this usage out of a desire to keep precipitate and precipitous distinct, but the extension of meaning from “steep” to “abrupt” is perfectly natural. After all a precipitous increase in reports of measles is also an abrupt or sudden event. In fact, a majority of the Usage Panel now accepts this usage. In our 2004 survey, 65 percent accepted the sentence Pressure to marry may cause precipitous decision-making that is not grounded in the reality of who you are and what you want from life.
(third-person singular simple present precipitates, present participle precipitating, simple past and past participle precipitated)
- To make something happen suddenly and quickly; hasten.
- to precipitate a journey, or a conflict
- To throw an object or person from a great height.
- To send violently into a certain state or condition.
- (intransitive, chemistry) To come out of a liquid solution into solid form.
- Adding the acid will cause the salt to precipitate.
- (chemistry) To separate a substance out of a liquid solution into solid form.
- (intransitive, meteorology) To have water in the air fall to the ground, for example as rain, snow, sleet, or hail; be deposited as condensed droplets.
- It will precipitate tomorrow, but we don't know whether as rain or snow.
- To cause (water in the air) to condense or fall to the ground.
From Latin praecipitatum
(comparative more precipitate, superlative most precipitate)
From Latin praecipitatus