\ˈimp \

Definition of imp 

(Entry 1 of 3)

1 obsolete : shoot, bud also : graft

2a : a small demon : fiend

b : a mischievous child : urchin


imped; imping; imps

Definition of imp (Entry 2 of 3)

transitive verb

1 : to graft or repair (a wing, tail, or feather) with a feather to improve a falcon's flying capacity

2 : to equip with wings

Definition of imp (Entry 3 of 3)

1 imperative

2 imperfect

3 imperial

4 import; imported

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms for imp

Synonyms: Noun

demon (or daemon), devil, fiend, ghost, ghoul

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of imp in a Sentence


scooped up the little imp and took him to bed a story about a crumbling mansion infested with a brood of imps

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Expect plenty of imps, ogres, and trolls and the series rolls on. Nick Vadala,, "Matt Groening's 'Disenchantment,' featuring Wayne's Abbi Jacobson, premieres on Netflix this summer," 23 May 2018 The Dada imp’s word games and visual pranks were busily bumping off Picasso as the primary influence on the ’60s American avant-garde. Christopher Knight,, "Tony DeLap's hybrids of painting and sculpture are impossible objects," 16 Mar. 2018 These scampering imps are a distracting intrusion that shifts one’s attention away from the singers at crucial moments in the drama. John Von Rhein,, "Splendid cast gives Gounod his due in muddled 'Faust' at Lyric Opera," 4 Mar. 2018 It’s #Oscars week but imp awards are already being given to legends. Chris Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, "Hollywood Reporter's Kim Masters Accepts Distinguished Journalist Prize, Salutes Out-of-Box Editors From Her Past," 2 Mar. 2018 Encountering complacency that unrepentant was always a peculiar thrill, guaranteed to tickle my inner imp of the perverse. Tom Carson, Los Angeles Magazine, "From Aldi to Vons, How Grocery Stores Are Our Connection to L.A.—and Ourselves," 19 Feb. 2018 At 10 months, Mabel is a delicious imp, with the fair coloring of her mother and the gleeful expression of a hellion in training. Judith Newman, New York Times, "Recovery, Russell Brand Style," 16 Oct. 2017 Named for the fictitious imps that became a good luck charm for British pilots during World War II, these Gremlin drones would be small, weighing 500 to 1,000 pounds a piece, smaller than Predators and Reapers. Eric Tegler, Popular Mechanics, "Why Old Blimps and Biplanes Are the Secret to Tomorrow's Drone Motherships," 6 Sep. 2017 The story being told is of the creation of the iconic imp Peter Pan. Christopher Arnott,, "'Finding Neverland' A Fantastical, Over-The-Top Romp At The Bushnell," 2 Aug. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Imping, her father had called this sort of frenzied picking. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Herman Melville, Volume I," 27 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imp.' 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 imp


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for imp


Middle English impe, from Old English impa, from impian to imp


Middle English, from Old English impian to graft, from Vulgar Latin *imputare, from Late Latin impotus grafted shoot, from Greek emphytos implanted, from emphyein to implant, from em- en- entry 2 + phyein to bring forth — more at be

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imp

Dictionary Entries near imp



imou pine



impact bomb


Statistics for imp

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imp

The first known use of imp was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imp



English Language Learners Definition of imp

: a small creature that plays harmful tricks in children's stories

: a child who causes trouble in a playful way : a mischievous child


\ˈimp \

Kids Definition of imp

1 : a small demon

2 : a mischievous child


\ˌī-ˌem-ˈpē \

Medical Definition of IMP 

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on imp

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


a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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


Love words? Need even more definitions?

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