Grab for the adjective precarious when something is unstable, dangerous or difficult and likely to get worse. Are you totally broke and the people you owe money to keep calling? You're in a precarious financial situation!

The Latin root of precarious means "obtained by asking or praying." This fits well as precarious always signals that help is needed desperately. If your life is precarious or you are in a precarious situation, things could become difficult, maybe even dangerous, for you. If your footing or hold on something is precarious, it is unstable or not firmly placed, so that you are likely to slip or lose your grip.

Definitions of precarious
  1. adjective
    not secure; beset with difficulties
    synonyms: shaky
    insecure, unsafe
    lacking in security or safety
  2. adjective
    affording no ease or reassurance
    “a precarious truce”
    synonyms: tenuous, unstable
    lacking a sense of security or affording no ease or reassurance
  3. adjective
    fraught with danger
    “the precarious life of an undersea diver”
    synonyms: parlous, perilous, touch-and-go
    dangerous, unsafe
    involving or causing danger or risk; liable to hurt or harm
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