v. per·ished, per·ish·ing, per·ish·es
1. To die or be destroyed, especially in a violent or untimely manner: "Must then a Christ perish in torment in every age to save those who have no imagination?" (George Bernard Shaw).
2. To pass from existence; disappear gradually: "Man will go down into the pit, and all his thoughts will perish" (A.J. Balfour).
3. Chiefly British To spoil or deteriorate.
To bring to destruction; destroy: "Many foul blights / Perish'd his hard won gains" (Thomas Hood).
perish the thought
Used to express the wish that one not even think about something.
[Middle English perishen, from Old French perir, periss-, to perish, from Latin perīre : per-, per- + īre, to go; see ei- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.