Precipitate usually means "bringing something on" or "making it happen" — and not always in a good way. An unpopular verdict might "precipitate violence" or one false step at the Grand Canyon could precipitate you down into the gorge.

Precipitate, as a verb, can also mean specifically, "to fall from clouds," such as rain, snow, or other forms of precipitation. When used as an adjective, precipitate means "hasty" or "acting suddenly." If you decide to throw your class project in a trash masher just because someone in your class had a similar idea, then your actions might be described as precipitate. Or if you do that sort of thing regularly, you may be a precipitate person.

Primary Meanings of precipitate

bring about abruptly
done with very great haste and without due deliberation
fall from clouds
a precipitated solid substance in suspension or after settling or filtering
Full Definitions of precipitate

v bring about abruptly

“The crisis precipitated by Russia's revolution”
Type of:
effect, effectuate, set up

v hurl or throw violently

“The bridge broke and precipitated the train into the river below”
Type of:
cast, hurl, hurtle
throw forcefully

v fall vertically, sharply, or headlong

“Our economy precipitated into complete ruin”
Type of:
come down, descend, fall, go down
move downward and lower, but not necessarily all the way

adj done with very great haste and without due deliberation

“wondered whether they had been rather precipitate in deposing the king”
hasty, overhasty, precipitant, precipitous
moving rapidly or performed quickly or in great haste

v fall from clouds

“Vesuvius precipitated its fiery, destructive rage on Herculaneum”
come down, fall
descend in free fall under the influence of gravity
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rain, rain down
precipitate as rain
come down like raindrops
fall as snow
precipitate as small ice particles
precipitate as a mixture of rain and snow
drizzle, mizzle
rain lightly
shower, shower down
rain abundantly
patter, pitter-patter, spatter, spit, sprinkle
rain gently
pelt, pour, rain buckets, rain cats and dogs, stream
rain heavily

v separate as a fine suspension of solid particles

Type of:
change state, turn
undergo a transformation or a change of position or action

n a precipitated solid substance in suspension or after settling or filtering

the precipitate produced by sewage treatment
Type of:
matter that is solid at room temperature and pressure

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