Weekly Word: Precipitous

Original photo by Fergal Carr

The adjective precipitous means “extremely or impassably steep”.

Sometimes it’s used to mean “extremely rapid, hasty, or abrupt”, but that usage is “widely regarded as an error”, according to a usage note on Dictionary.com’s entry for precipitate. By the way, I never knew that precipitate meant anything other than “to rain, snow, etc.”, or that it’s related to precipice, “a very steep cliff”.

All those words come from Latin pr