General English


  • noun danger, especially a possible accident covered by an insurance policy

Origin & History of “peril”

Etymologically, peril means a ‘trying out of something’, an ‘experiment’. The word comes via Old French peril from Latin perīculum ‘experiment, danger’, a noun formed from the base *per- ‘attempt’ (which also lies behind English empiric, experience, expert, pirate, and repertory). Its derivative perīculōsus originally reached English via Old French as perilous (13th c.), but subsequently became contracted to parlous (14th c.).