categorical imperative

noun

Definition of categorical imperative 

: a moral obligation or command that is unconditionally and universally binding

Examples of categorical imperative in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Kant introduced the world to the theory of the categorical imperative; Larry, the chat-and-cut. Meredith Blake, latimes.com, "'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is back and so is Larry David, TV's greatest philosopher," 29 Sep. 2017 Kant introduced the world to the theory of the categorical imperative Meredith Blake, latimes.com, "'Curb Your Enthusiasm' is back and so is Larry David, TV's greatest philosopher," 29 Sep. 2017 The Golden Rule, the categorical imperative — all of these moral notions will fall by the wayside. Ben Shapiro, National Review, "College Students vs. Free Speech," 20 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'categorical imperative.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of categorical imperative

1827, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about categorical imperative

Share categorical imperative

Statistics for categorical imperative

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for categorical imperative

The first known use of categorical imperative was in 1827

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on categorical imperative

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about categorical imperative

Comments on categorical imperative

What made you want to look up categorical imperative? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

a generally accepted meaning of a word

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!