Etymology
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precipitate (v.)

1520s, "to hurl or fling down" (from a precipice or height), a back formation from precipitation or else from Latin praecipitatus, past participle of praecipitare "to throw or dive headlong; be hasty," from praeceps (genitive praecipitis) "steep, headlong, headfirst," from prae "before, forth" (see pre-) + caput "head" (from PIE root *kaput- "head").

Earliest use in English is figurative, "to hurl or cause (someone) to fall (into some state or condition).  Meaning "to cause to happen suddenly, hurry the beginning of" is recorded from 1620s. The chemical sense "cause to fall as a sediment to the bottom of a vessel" is from 1620s (intransitive sense from 1640s). The meteorological sense (intransitive) is attested by 1863. Related: Precipitated; precipitating.

precipitate (adj.)

c. 1600, "hasty, acting without deliberation;" 1610s, "hurled headlong, plunging or rushing down," from Latin praecipitatus, past participle of praecipitare "to throw or dive headlong," from praeceps (genitive praecipitis) "steep, headlong, headfirst," from prae "before, forth" (see pre-) + caput "head" (from PIE root *kaput- "head"). Meaning "hasty" is attested from 1650s. Related: Precipitately.

precipitate (n.)

1560s, in chemistry, "any substance which, having been dissolved in a fluid, falls to the bottom of the vessel on the addition of some other substance producing decomposition of the compound," probably a back formation from precipitation. In meteorology, "moisture condensed from vapor by cooling and deposited as rain, etc.," by 1832.

updated on October 13, 2020

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Definitions of precipitate from WordNet
1
precipitate (v.)
bring about abruptly;
The crisis precipitated by Russia's revolution
precipitate (v.)
separate as a fine suspension of solid particles;
precipitate (v.)
fall from clouds;
Vesuvius precipitated its fiery, destructive rage on Herculaneum
Synonyms: come down / fall
precipitate (v.)
fall vertically, sharply, or headlong;
Our economy precipitated into complete ruin
precipitate (v.)
hurl or throw violently;
The bridge broke and precipitated the train into the river below
2
precipitate (n.)
a precipitated solid substance in suspension or after settling or filtering;
3
precipitate (adj.)
done with very great haste and without due deliberation; "hasty marriage seldom proveth well"- Shakespeare; "hasty makeshifts take the place of planning"- Arthur Geddes;
wondered whether they had been rather precipitate in deposing the king
From wordnet.princeton.edu, not affiliated with etymonline.