Pronunciation: (per'ish),[key] —v.i. 1. to die or be destroyed through violence, privation, etc.: to perish in an earthquake. 2. to pass away or disappear: an age of elegance that has forever perished. 3. to suffer destruction or ruin: His valuable paintings perished in the fire. 4. to suffer spiritual death: Save us, lest we perish. 5. perish the thought, may it never happen: used facetiously or as an afterthought of foreboding.