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From Middle English perishen, from Old French periss-, stem of certain parts of perir, from Latin perīre (to pass away, perish), present active infinitive of pereō, from per (through) + (to go); see iter.


  • IPA(key): /ˈpɛɹɪʃ/
  • (file)
  • Homophone: parish (some accents)
  • Hyphenation: per‧ish


perish (third-person singular simple present perishes, present participle perishing, simple past and past participle perished)

  1. (intransitive) To pass away; to come to naught; to waste away; to decay and disappear.
  2. (intransitive) To die; to cease to live.
    • 1719, Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
      ...the ship struck upon a sand, and ... the sea broke over her in such a manner that we expected we should all have perished immediately; and we were immediately driven into our close quarters, to shelter us from the very foam and spray of the sea.
  3. (transitive, obsolete) To cause to perish.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Francis Bacon to this entry?)


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