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February 15, 2007

Word of the Day

  • imprimatur
  • audio pronunciation
  • \im-pruh-MAH-toor\
  • DEFINITION

noun

1
: a license to print or publish especially by Roman Catholic episcopal authority
2
: sanction, approval
  • EXAMPLES

The organization has been meeting on campus without the university's imprimatur.

  • DID YOU KNOW?

"Imprimatur" means "let it be printed" in New Latin. It comes from Latin "imprimere," meaning to "imprint" or "impress." In the 1600s, the word appeared in the front matter of books, accompanied by the name of an official authorizing the book's printing. It was also in the 1600s that English speakers began using "imprimatur" in the general sense of "official approval." The Roman Catholic Church still issues imprimaturs for books concerned with religious matters (to indicate that a work contains nothing offensive to Catholic morals or faith), and there have been other authorities for imprimaturs as well. For example, when Samuel Pepys was president of the Royal Society, he placed his imprimatur on the title page of England's great scientific work, Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, in 1687.

*Indicates the sense illustrated in the example sentence.

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