perish (v.)

late 13c., perishen, "to die, be killed, pass away; suffer spiritual death, be damned," from periss- present participle stem of Old French perir "perish, be lost, be shipwrecked" (12c.), from Latin perire "to be lost, perish," literally "to go through," from per "through, completely, to destruction" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + ire "to go" (from PIE root *ei- "to go").

From mid-14c. of physical objects, "decay, come to destruction." In Middle English also transitive, "to destroy, to kill" (c. 1300). Related: Perished; perishing. Perisher is by 1888 as a term of contempt, originally "one who destroys," but it was sometimes used with an overtone of pity, as if "one likely to perish."

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