em·​i·​nent | \ ˈe-mə-nənt How to pronounce eminent (audio) \

Definition of eminent

1 : exhibiting eminence especially in standing above others in some quality or position : prominent
2 : standing out so as to be readily perceived or noted : conspicuous
3 : jutting out : projecting

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Choose the Right Synonym for eminent

famous, renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious mean known far and wide. famous implies little more than the fact of being, sometimes briefly, widely and popularly known. a famous actress renowned implies more glory and acclamation. one of the most renowned figures in sports history celebrated implies notice and attention especially in print. the most celebrated beauty of her day noted suggests well-deserved public attention. the noted mystery writer notorious frequently adds to famous an implication of questionableness or evil. a notorious gangster distinguished implies acknowledged excellence or superiority. a distinguished scientist who won the Nobel Prize eminent implies even greater prominence for outstanding quality or character. the country's most eminent writers illustrious stresses enduring honor and glory attached to a deed or person. illustrious war heroes

On Imminent and Eminent

Imminent bears a close resemblance to eminent, and native English-speakers can be excused if they sometimes have to check their spelling. No surprise, really, since the two, despite their very distinct meanings, come from near-identical sources. The Latin minēre means basically “to project, overhang,” and it forms the root of other Latin words. One added the prefix e-, meaning “out from,” to produce eminēre, “to stand out”; another took the prefix im-, meaning “upon,” and became imminēre, “to project.” The difference between “stand out” and “project” is obviously small. Still, even when eminent and imminent first appeared as English words in the 15th and 16th centuries respectively, they were clearly distinct in meaning, imminent’s prefix having strengthened the “overhang” sense of minēre to give the word its frequent suggestion of looming threat.

Examples of eminent in a Sentence

The trend discerned by Wilde a century ago, of course, has only accelerated in recent years, as the line between trashy celebrity exposés and serious biographies of eminent artists, statesmen and thinkers has grown increasingly blurred. — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 20 May 1994 Next year sees the 150th anniversary of the 'invention' of the dinosaurs by the eminent English anatomist and palaeontologist, Richard Owen. — Nicholas Fraser, Nature, 20 & 27 Dec. 1990 many eminent surgeons are on the hospital's staff
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Recent Examples on the Web This is the last book by one of our most eminent recent philosophers, who died of cancer in January this year, about the last opera by the only composer who can also be considered a philosopher in his own right. Barnaby Crowcroft, National Review, "Eternal Lessons from Wagner’s Last Opera," 26 Dec. 2020 Also featured: the world-renowned glaciologist Richard Alley, with his dulcimer-playing daughter, Karen, and the eminent Adirondack limnologist Curt Stager. Bill Mckibben, The New Yorker, "Can Wall Street’s Heaviest Hitter Step Up to the Plate on Climate Change?," 24 Dec. 2020 London’s financial markets prospered in the last four decades as the U.K. capital became the pre-eminent EU hub for lending, trading and investing. Simon Clark, WSJ, "What Does the Brexit Deal Mean for Financial Services?," 24 Dec. 2020 One of the country’s pre-eminent jazz critics was also an endearingly tedious player, of drums no less. Reginald Dwayne Betts Kiese Makeba Laymon Carina Del Valle Schorske Dessa Irina Aleksander Sam Dolnick Mark Binelli Maggie Jones Rob Hoerburger Jamie Lauren Keiles Devin Gordon Jazmine Hughes Jenna Wortham Jade Chang Taffy Brodesser-akner Kaitlyn Greenidge Rowan Ricardo Phillips Michael Paterniti Wesley Morris Ismail Muhammad Anthony Giardina, New York Times, "Remembering some of the artists, innovators and thinkers we lost in the past year.," 23 Dec. 2020 Retired presidents are eminent figures, but not prominent ones. Varad Mehta, Washington Examiner, "Leader of the opposition," 17 Dec. 2020 The Right to a #FairTrial in #InternationalLaw' A panel of eminent legal minds participated, including IBAHRI's @HelenaKennedyQC. Bianca Betancourt, Harper's BAZAAR, "Amal Clooney Jokes, "For the Sake of Her Marriage," She Cannot Ever Write Another Book," 17 Dec. 2020 Since it was founded in 2013 as a place for non-technical people to buy Bitcoin, Coinbase has emerged as the pre-eminent cryptocurrency company. Jeff John Roberts, Fortune, "Coinbase adds Cisco vet to board ahead of rumored IPO," 16 Dec. 2020 Reynolds, who is chairman and CEO of the American Academy of Achievement, plans to build on that idea of introducing a generation of young scholars to pre-eminent leaders on the world stage. al, "Dr. Ben Carson announces $2.9 million federal grant to study civil rights ‘gateway’," 15 Dec. 2020

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

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First Known Use of eminent

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for eminent

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin eminent-, eminens, present participle of eminēre to stand out, from e- + -minēre; akin to Latin mont-, mons mountain — more at mount

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Time Traveler for eminent

Time Traveler

The first known use of eminent was in the 15th century

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Statistics for eminent

Last Updated

31 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Eminent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eminent. Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for eminent


How to pronounce eminent (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of eminent

: successful, well-known and respected


em·​i·​nent | \ ˈe-mə-nənt How to pronounce eminent (audio) \

Kids Definition of eminent

: successful, well-known, and respected an eminent physician

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