imp

1 of 3

noun

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

imp

2 of 3

verb

imped; imping; imps

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

imp

3 of 3

abbreviation

1
imperative
2
imperfect
3
imperial
4
import; imported

Example Sentences

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
Her Richard is an entitled aristo rather than a calculating imp, a swaggering T. rex instead of a darting velociraptor. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 11 July 2022 Together, the five –- plus an extra character, a pet imp named Beans – completed the Dire Dogs. Annie Nickoloff, cleveland, 27 May 2022 In South African mythology, the tokoloshe is a malicious imp that preys on its victims at night. Hedley Twidle, Harper's Magazine, 23 Nov. 2021 The show's sixth and final season pits Supergirl and her Super Friends against Nyxly (Peta Sergeant), a vengeful Fifth Dimensional imp who is desperately searching for seven magical totems that, when combined, will give her ultimate power. EW.com, 28 Oct. 2021 The stories about its little, red-haired imp and his pranks still retain cult status today. John Hopewell, Variety, 12 Oct. 2021 Presiding above it all is Pesce himself, an imp in Issey Miyake, delighting in his creations, wonky and Wonka. Matthew Schneier, Curbed, 14 Sep. 2021 Hell on Earth is imminent, and Coy Blackler’s only real ally is Harper, a fellow test pilot/guinea pig whose symbiotic relationship with a cherubim-ish imp also is highly unstable. al, 23 July 2021 In a sense, Keough gets to play the film’s presiding artist, an imp of the perverse who sets things in motion just to see what might happen. Lidija Haas, The New Republic, 29 June 2021
Verb
Imping, her father had called this sort of frenzied picking. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2017 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

Verb

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

First Known Use

Noun

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

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near imp

Cite this Entry

“Imp.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imp. Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition

imp

noun
ˈimp
1
: a small demon
2
: a mischievous child

Medical Definition

More from Merriam-Webster on imp

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