Definition of imperfect
1 : not perfect: such asa : defectiveb of a flower : having stamens or pistils but not bothc : lacking or not involving sexual reproduction the imperfect stage of a fungus
2 : of, relating to, or constituting a verb tense used to designate a continuing state or an incomplete action especially in the past
3 : not enforceable at law
imperfectlyplay \(ˌ)im-ˈpər-fik(t)-lē\ adverb
imperfectnessplay \(ˌ)im-ˈpər-fik(t)-nəs\ noun
Examples of imperfect in a Sentence
It's an imperfect solution to a difficult problem.
He had an imperfect understanding of the task.
In “He was singing when I came in,” “was singing” is in the imperfect tense.
Recent Examples of imperfect from the Web
Some income security in retirement, however imperfect, came to be seen as a citizen’s right.
In the years that followed, imperfect democracies in Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand appeared to be gaining strength.
Political leadership, while imperfect, is superior to previous iterations, both black and white.
Stock-market returns are one, albeit imperfect, way of answering this question and since the initial developments, Google has far outperformed Apple.
But options for turning the screw on the North financially also are imperfect.
Her latest book, as beautifully written as all the rest, is about Shelby Richmond, a broken young woman who is trying to find her way in an imperfect world.
Facebook's still imperfect attempts to police speech around the world should be everybody's business.
Portis hints that there is a woman in his life who has shown him how to be vulnerable, imperfect, fearful.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imperfect.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of imperfect
alteration of Middle English imparfit, from Latin imperfectus, from in- + perfectus perfect
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Definition of imperfect
: an imperfect tense; also : the verb form expressing it
First Known Use of imperfect
IMPERFECT Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of imperfect for English Language Learners
: having mistakes or problems : not perfect
grammar : of or relating to a verb tense used to express an incomplete action in the past or a state that continued for a period of time in the past
IMPERFECT Defined for Kids
Definition of imperfect for Students
: having a fault of some kind : not perfect
Legal Definition of imperfect
: not perfect or complete: as a : not enforceable : enforceable only under certain conditions an imperfect obligation b : lacking an element otherwise required by law — compare perfect
Seen and Heard
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