imperfect

adjective
im·​per·​fect | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpər-fikt How to pronounce imperfect (audio) \

Definition of imperfect

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : not perfect: such as
b of a flower : having stamens or pistils but not both
c : 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

imperfect

noun

Definition of imperfect (Entry 2 of 2)

: an imperfect tense also : the verb form expressing it

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Other Words from imperfect

Adjective

imperfectly \ (ˌ)im-​ˈpər-​fik(t)-​lē How to pronounce imperfectly (audio) \ adverb
imperfectness \ (ˌ)im-​ˈpər-​fik(t)-​nəs How to pronounce imperfectness (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for imperfect

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Examples of imperfect in a Sentence

Adjective 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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective But there are tested solutions that are imperfect but do chip away at these problems–and often save public money. Time, "There Are Far Too Many 'Deaths of Despair' in the U.S. How Much Longer Will We Turn Our Backs on This Crisis?," 16 Jan. 2020 Analogies are imperfect by definition, but the Cheerios effect has yielded insight into how galaxies collapse, for instance. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "Physicists measured forces behind why Cheerios clump together in your bowl," 21 Dec. 2019 Thus, a modest proposal that is imperfect but may be the only practical way forward: Democrats should publicly time-limit their forbearance. E.j. Dionne Jr., The Mercury News, "Dionne: Give Trump an ultimatum: Respond or be impeached," 10 June 2019 One friend recalls an almost-identical prom-night disaster in Paris; another remembers the MAC counter, imperfect but dependable, as the only option during her adolescence in Toronto. Rawiya Kameir, Vogue, "After the Fenty Phenomenon, What’s Next for Inclusivity in Beauty?," 18 Mar. 2019 Turning fragments into story, knowing that the story is imperfect but knowing that it must be told anyway, is Nathaniel’s job. BostonGlobe.com, "Michael Ondaatje crafts a superb wartime mystery," 3 May 2018 Mouse models using telomerase gene therapy in the brain have been promising, with no notable incidence of cancer—but those experiments are imperfect. Katherine Ellen Foley, Quartz, "A biotech startup thinks its idea could cure dementia—but scientists have their doubts," 14 Jan. 2020 This method is imperfect: animal densities differ in various places, and the numbers do not include several types of animals, notably bats, which make up one quarter of Australia’s native terrestrial mammal species. Andrea Thompson, Scientific American, "Australia’s Bushfires Have Likely Devastated Wildlife—and the Impact Will Only Get Worse," 8 Jan. 2020 And unlike baking, pasta is imperfect ― knobbly and forgiving ― much like the beautiful Italian grandmothers featured in the new cookbook Pasta Grannies: The Secrets of Italy’s Best Home Cooks by Vicky Bennison ($29.99, Hardie Grant Books). Erin Booke, Dallas News, "Pasta Granny goals: 3 frugal recipes from our new favorite cookbook," 7 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Performances had been stuttering, results imperfect: At Santiago Bernabéu, the 85,000-seat stadium where Real Madrid plays its matches, one loss and three draws in 11 league games does not cut it. Rory Smith, New York Times, "Real Madrid Wins Easily in Zidane’s Debut as Coach JAN. 9, 2016," 2 Dec. 2016

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.

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First Known Use of imperfect

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1569, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for imperfect

Adjective

alteration of Middle English imparfit, from Latin imperfectus, from in- + perfectus perfect

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Time Traveler for imperfect

Time Traveler

The first known use of imperfect was in the 14th century

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Statistics for imperfect

Last Updated

18 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Imperfect.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imperfect. Accessed 23 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for imperfect

imperfect

adjective
How to pronounce imperfect (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of imperfect

: 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

adjective
im·​per·​fect | \ im-ˈpər-fikt How to pronounce imperfect (audio) \

Kids Definition of imperfect

: having a fault of some kind : not perfect

Other Words from imperfect

imperfectly adverb

imperfect

adjective
im·​per·​fect

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

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Comments on imperfect

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