imperative

adjective
im·​per·​a·​tive | \ im-ˈper-ə-tiv How to pronounce imperative (audio) , -ˈpe-rə- \

Definition of imperative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not to be avoided or evaded : necessary an imperative duty
2a : of, relating to, or constituting the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another
b : expressive of a command, entreaty, or exhortation
c : having power to restrain, control, and direct

imperative

noun

Definition of imperative (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : something that is imperative (see imperative entry 1): such as
a : command, order
b : rule, guide
c : an obligatory act or duty
d : an obligatory judgment or proposition
2 : the grammatical mood that expresses the will to influence the behavior of another or a verb form or verbal phrase expressing it

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Other Words from imperative

Adjective

imperatively adverb
imperativeness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for imperative

Adjective

masterful, domineering, imperious, peremptory, imperative mean tending to impose one's will on others. masterful implies a strong personality and ability to act authoritatively. her masterful personality soon dominated the movement domineering suggests an overbearing or arbitrary manner and an obstinate determination to enforce one's will. children controlled by domineering parents imperious implies a commanding nature or manner and often suggests arrogant assurance. an imperious executive used to getting his own way peremptory implies an abrupt dictatorial manner coupled with an unwillingness to brook disobedience or dissent. given a peremptory dismissal imperative implies peremptoriness arising more from the urgency of the situation than from an inherent will to dominate. an imperative appeal for assistance

Examples of imperative in a Sentence

Adjective … I have begun to feel each time as if I am mutilating my antennae (which is how Rastafarians, among others, think of hair) and attenuating my power. It seems imperative not to cut my hair anymore. — Alice Walker, Living by the Word, (1981) 1988 This strange and distorted form of breathing could be interrupted for a minute or two by a strong effort of will, but would then resume its bizarre and imperative character. — Oliver Sacks, Awakenings, 1973 We had a long and interesting evening with the Katzenbachs. He and Lyndon discussed the imperative need to make Washington a law-abiding city and how to go about it. — Lady Bird Johnson 27 Jan. 1965, A White House Diary1970 “Eat your spinach!” is an imperative sentence. “Help” in the sentence “Help me!” is an imperative verb. a verb in the imperative mood People resented his imperative tone of voice. Noun Ellroy has got to be the only writer who still uses "dig" as an imperative — Laura Miller, New York Times Book Review, 20 May 2001 Indeed, under pressure from a new way of life in which radiant heat from woodburning stoves must circulate unimpeded by dividers, virtually every house with a chimney today has abandoned the closed-door imperative of the high-technology kitchen. — Maxine Kumin, In Deep, 1987 "Maturity" had been a code word … for marriage and settling down; "growth" implied a plurality of legitimate options, if not a positive imperative to keep moving from one insight or experience to the next. — Barbara Ehrenreich, New York Times Magazine, 20 May 1984 She considers it a moral imperative to help people in need. “Eat your spinach!” is in the imperative. “Go” and “buy” are imperatives in the sentence “Please go to the store and buy some milk.”
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Customer retention is crucial for businesses to survive, and addressing the evolving needs of customers is imperative. Gaurav Singh, Forbes, 28 May 2021 Don’t mind if your kids run on it For those with children, getting something a bit more kid-friendly is imperative. Tim Kohut, BGR, 25 May 2021 Safety protocols are imperative as our children return to school. Alexis Glick, NBC News, 25 May 2021 The movies, the pizza time, group meetings, the meditation sessions that some inmates invite others to do, are also imperative, Vuolo says. Terry Demio, The Enquirer, 20 May 2021 Landsman argued the larger investment was imperative. Sharon Coolidge, The Enquirer, 19 May 2021 Her inclusive framing of her candidacy is an imperative in a state where Democrats now outnumber GOP voters by more than 2 to 1. Maeve Reston, CNN, 6 May 2021 Shifting from voluntary to mandatory disclosures is also an imperative, not only as a means of improving peer competition in a race to the top, but also in improving board and executive accountability. Paul Polman, Fortune, 11 Apr. 2021 Chief among them is the imperative to address immediate economic needs and simply get countries up and running again. Ned Temko, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun This is a paradigm shift that is fast becoming an imperative for the entirety of the company - even more so since the COVID-19 pandemic changed customers’ behavior toward their suppliers/partners. Robert Reiss, Forbes, 1 June 2021 But large parts of the party’s base, including many voters of color, support more discussion in schools about racism’s reach, and believe that such conversations are an educational imperative that should stand apart from partisan politics. BostonGlobe.com, 1 June 2021 Biden is also targeting gun violence in urban areas and communities, billing this as an economic imperative. Katherine Doyle, Washington Examiner, 8 Apr. 2021 The issue is seen as a public health imperative, as people who were displaced from their homes could be forced into crowded alternatives, such as shelters. Chris Morris, Fortune, 29 Mar. 2021 However, organizations that make accessibility a business imperative can make their brand more approachable for everyone, not just people with disabilities. Astrid Pocklington, Forbes, 20 May 2021 Federal officials have argued this is a public health imperative, since people who were displaced from their homes could be forced into crowded alternatives, such as shelters. Chris Morris, Fortune, 5 May 2021 Gray says addressing long-existing racial inequities is an imperative for the city and City Council. BostonGlobe.com, 19 Apr. 2021 Getting athletes back to work has been an imperative for coaches, fans, sponsors, and cities. Quartz Staff, Quartz, 9 Dec. 2020

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

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

Noun

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for imperative

Adjective

Middle English imperatyf, borrowed from Late Latin imperātīvus, from Latin imperātus, past participle of imperāre "to give orders, command" + -īvus -ive — more at emperor

Noun

borrowed from Late Latin imperātīvus, noun derivative of imperātīvus imperative entry 1

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Time Traveler for imperative

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for imperative

Last Updated

3 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imperative.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imperative. Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for imperative

imperative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of imperative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : very important
grammar : having the form that expresses a command rather than a statement or a question
formal : expressing a command in a forceful and confident way

imperative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of imperative (Entry 2 of 2)

formal : a command, rule, duty, etc., that is very important or necessary
: the form that a verb or sentence has when it is expressing a command
: an imperative verb or sentence

imperative

adjective
im·​per·​a·​tive | \ im-ˈper-ə-tiv How to pronounce imperative (audio) \

Kids Definition of imperative

1 : expressing a command, request, or strong encouragement "Come here!" is an imperative sentence.
2 : urgent sense 1 It is imperative that you get help.

imperative

adjective
im·​per·​a·​tive | \ im-ˈper-ət-iv How to pronounce imperative (audio) \

Medical Definition of imperative

: eliciting a motor response an imperative stimulus

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