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, 29 Sep. 2017 Kant introduced the world to the theory of the categorical imperative Meredith Blake, latimes.com, 29 Sep. 2017 The Golden Rule, the categorical imperative — all of these moral notions will fall by the wayside. Ben Shapiro, National Review, 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.

First Known Use of categorical imperative

1827, in the meaning defined above

Learn More About categorical imperative

Time Traveler for categorical imperative

Time Traveler

The first known use of categorical imperative was in 1827

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near categorical imperative

categorical

categorical imperative

categorical proposition

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for categorical imperative

Cite this Entry

“Categorical imperative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/categorical%20imperative. Accessed 9 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on categorical imperative

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about categorical imperative

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

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!