\ 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


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

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

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 The four imps that are quickest to crawl the three inches from the birth canal to the pouch survive. Brian Handwerk, National Geographic, "'Bad moms' of the animal kingdom are only trying to survive," 10 May 2019 These carnivorous marsupials give birth to dozens of tiny, hairless imps—up to 50 at time—but only offer four teats in their pouches. Brian Handwerk, National Geographic, "'Bad moms' of the animal kingdom are only trying to survive," 10 May 2019 Maxwell's hypothetical imp would perch atop the dividing wall and open and close the shutter at will. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Penn State scientists build quantum version of Maxwell’s demon," 12 Sep. 2018 The imp accomplished this by making heat flow from a cold compartment to a hot one in apparent violation of the second law. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Penn State scientists build quantum version of Maxwell’s demon," 12 Sep. 2018 In addition to elves and dwarves and imps there are also trolls and munchkins and leprechauns and a million other short-statured mystical characters. John Jurgensen, WSJ, "From ‘The Simpsons’ to ‘Disenchantment’," 11 Aug. 2018 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

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imp

Dictionary Entries near imp



imou pine



impact bomb


Statistics for imp

Last Updated

17 Sep 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on imp

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imp

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imp

Spanish Central: Translation of imp

Nglish: Translation of imp for Spanish Speakers

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).


suitable to be imparted to the public

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?


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!