\ ˈimp How to pronounce imp (audio) \

Definition of imp

 (Entry 1 of 3)

1a : a small demon : fiend
b : a mischievous child : urchin
2 obsolete : shoot, bud also : graft entry 1


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

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Examples of imp in a Sentence

Noun 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 Your most basic attacker and defender, a creature spell can be anything from a demonic imp to the most pious angel. Darren Orf, Popular Mechanics, "How to Play 'Magic: The Gathering': Everything You Need to Know," 11 Aug. 2020 This potent symbol of Black life – of self-preservation, resistance + authenticity has an imp. Asia Milia Ware, Teen Vogue, "Rihanna Confirmed Fenty Skin Is Coming Soon in British Vogue Cover Story," 31 Mar. 2020 The pointy-eared imp has even pulled off plenty of their own pranks on the dogs too. Kelli Bender,, "The Elf on the Shelf Meets His Match in Adorable Christmas Prank War with Two Clever Dogs," 18 Dec. 2019 But Rumpelstiltskin, the magical imp who spun straw into gold, would be impressed with the latest chemical wizardry. Robert F. Service, Science | AAAS, "Electricity turns garbage into graphene," 27 Jan. 2020 Of course, there is only the faintest connection between nursery tales and Chinese factories churning out Christmas decorations: no elves with pointed ears nor mischievous imps assisting Santa Claus. François Lévêque, Quartz, "The international sustainability, economics, and history of Christmas trees, explained," 21 Dec. 2019 The article also mentioned a legend that, after Master’s death in 1796, a workman saw him shackled and riding on horseback, begging for mercy, with three imps following him. Akira Kyles,, "Grave marker of Carroll County settler, infamous slave owner replaced; historical society takes in old ledger," 24 Nov. 2019 His ghost, riding a gray horse that spews fire from its nostrils, is sometimes accompanied by three glowing imps. David Buie,, "Carroll Yesteryears: County Halloween traditions evolved from Pennsylvania German culture," 26 Oct. 2019 Shakespeare set the play in Athens, where young lovers and bad actors find themselves in an enchanted forest where they are pranked by gods and imps. Christopher Arnott,, "Breakdancing Shakespeare creates a hip-hop ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at Hartford Stage," 22 July 2019 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.

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First Known Use of imp


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


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

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Time Traveler for imp

Time Traveler

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

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Cite this Entry

“Imp.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for imp


How to pronounce imp (audio)

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 How to pronounce imp (audio) \

Kids Definition of imp

1 : a small demon
2 : a mischievous child


\ ˌī-ˌem-ˈpē How to pronounce IMP (audio) \

Medical Definition of IMP

More from Merriam-Webster on imp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imp

Nglish: Translation of imp for Spanish Speakers

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