Etymology
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peril (n.)

"danger, risk, hazard, jeopardy, exposure of person or property to injury, loss, or destruction," c. 1200, from Old French peril "danger, risk" (10c.), from Latin periculum "an attempt, trial, experiment; risk, danger," with instrumentive suffix -culum and first element from PIE *peri-tlo-, suffixed form of root *per- (3) "to try, risk."

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imperil (v.)

1590s, from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (from PIE root *en "in") + peril. Formerly also emperil. Related: Imperiled; imperiling; imperilment.

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*per- (3)

Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to try, risk," an extended sense from root *per- (1) "forward," via the notion of "to lead across, press forward."

It forms all or part of: empiric; empirical; experience; experiment; expert; fear; parlous; peril; perilous; pirate.

It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by: Latin experiri "to try," periculum "trial, risk, danger;" Greek peira "trial, attempt, experience," empeiros "experienced;" Old Irish aire "vigilance;" Old English fær "calamity, sudden danger, peril, sudden attack," German Gefahr "danger," Gothic ferja "watcher.

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danger (n.)

mid-13c., daunger, "arrogance, insolence;" c. 1300, "power of a lord or master, jurisdiction," from Anglo-French daunger, Old French dangier "power, power to harm, mastery, authority, control" (12c., Modern French danger), alteration (due to association with damnum) of dongier, from Vulgar Latin *dominarium "power of a lord," from Latin dominus "lord, master," from domus "house" (from PIE root *dem- "house, household").

Modern sense of "risk, peril, exposure to injury, loss, pain, etc." (from being in the control of someone or something else) evolved first in French and was in English by late 14c. For this, Old English had pleoh; in early Middle English this sense is found in peril. For sound changes, compare dungeon, which is from the same source.

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alarmed (adj.)

"disturbed by prospects of peril," 1640s, past-participle adjective from alarm (v.).

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haphazard (adj.)

"characterized by randomness, chance, accidental," 1670s, from noun meaning "a chance, accident" (1570s), from hap (n.) "chance, luck" + hazard (n.) "risk, danger, peril." Related: Haphazardly.

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saving (adj.)

c. 1300, "delivering from sin or death;" 1530s, "delivering or preserving from peril;" present-participle adjective from save (v.). The notion in saving grace is "spiritual gifts necessary to salvation;" the non-Christian sense (by 1903) is moral or mental, indicating something that redeems or exempts from censure.

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scape (v.)

early 13c., scapen, "to escape (siege, battle, etc.), depart from (confinement, etc.)," a shortened form of escape; frequent in prose up to late 17c. By late 14c. in the general sense "avoid death, peril, punishment, or other danger." Related: Scaped (sometimes 15c.-16c. with strong past tense scope); scaping. As a noun from c. 1300, "an escape."

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plight (n.2)

mid-13c., "solemn pledge, promise," usually concerning a serious matter and involving risk or loss in default, from Old English pliht "danger, risk, peril, damage," from Proto-Germanic *pleg- (source also of Old Frisian plicht "danger, concern, care," Middle Dutch, Dutch plicht "obligation, duty," Old High German pfliht, German Pflicht "obligation, duty," which is perhaps from PIE root *dlegh- "to engage oneself, be or become fixed," or it might be a substratum word. Compare Old English plihtere "look-out man at the prow of a ship," plihtlic "perilous, dangerous."

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sensationalism (n.)

1846 in philosophy, "theory that sensation is the only source of knowledge and ideas;" 1865 in reference to journalism, "writing or language that aims to excite the feelings," from sensational + -ism. Sensation novel is attested by 1856 (Wilkie Collins's often are cited in early examples).

Sensation novels, novels that produce their effect by exciting and often improbable situations, by taking as their groundwork some dreadful secret, some atrocious crime, or the like, and painting scenes of extreme peril, high-wrought passion, etc. [Century Dictionary]
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