English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I do not know what "to fail at one's peril" means. The phrase appears in legal documents until the 19th century (at least this is what Google suggests). I cannot deduce its meaning no matter how hard I try.

share|improve this question

closed as general reference by FumbleFingers, Gnawme, kiamlaluno, Matt E. Эллен, Mitch Feb 10 '12 at 2:53

This question is too basic; it can be definitively and permanently answered by a single link to a standard internet reference source designed specifically to find that type of information.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

General reference: Googling define "at one's peril" shows a clear definition with risk or danger to one; at the hazard of on the first reference, without even leaving Google homepage. – FumbleFingers Feb 7 '12 at 21:52

The complete sentence is often something like, "Whereof you may not fail, at your peril." This means that if you fail, it will be perilous for you.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.