imperial

adjective
im·​pe·​ri·​al | \ im-ˈpir-ē-əl How to pronounce imperial (audio) \

Definition of imperial

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of, relating to, befitting, or suggestive of an empire or an emperor
b(1) : of or relating to the United Kingdom as distinguished from the constituent parts
(2) : of or relating to the Commonwealth of Nations and British Empire
3 : of superior or unusual size or excellence
4 : belonging to the official British series of weights and measures — see Weights and Measures Table

imperial

noun

Definition of imperial (Entry 2 of 2)

1 capitalized : an adherent or soldier of the Holy Roman emperor
2 : emperor
3 : a pointed beard growing below the lower lip
4 : something of unusual size or excellence

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from imperial

Adjective

imperially \ im-​ˈpir-​ē-​ə-​lē How to pronounce imperially (audio) \ adverb

Examples of imperial in a Sentence

Adjective

a member of the imperial family envisioned an imperial city that would rival the capitals of Europe for beauty and magnificence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

To survive, the alliance needs to become less imperial and more democratic. Stephen Wilmot, WSJ, "Nissan Counts the Costs of Ghosn," 12 Feb. 2019 America remains an outlier holding on to the old imperial, or U.S. customary system, of pounds and acres when the rest of the world has largely shifted to the metric system of kilograms and hectares. Lucy Craymer, WSJ, "What Exactly Is a Bushel? The Question Turns People Into Basket Cases," 18 Dec. 2018 The new governments, republican in most cases, imperial down in Rio, set out to remake their colonial capitals with new national parliaments and federal ministries. Jason Farago, New York Times, "How Latin America Was Built, Before Modernism Came Along," 18 Apr. 2018 As the Queen of England during Britain's imperial height, Queen Victoria inspired the title of everything from lakes and mountains to cities across what was then the empire. Chanel Vargas, Town & Country, "15 Fascinating Facts You Didn't Know About Queen Victoria," 8 Jan. 2019 His account of the great imperial hydraulic project is impressive in its detailing of logistical obstacles, political opposition, bean counters’ bleatings and clashes of engineers’ egos. Tunku Varadarajan, WSJ, "‘Unruly Waters’ and ‘Ganges’ Review: In India, Water Is Politics," 4 Jan. 2019 As evidenced by the history of the Banana Wars, the United States has long considered Latin America a subordinate part of its imperial domain. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Donald Trump Is Threatening to Declare a National Emergency to Get Border Wall Funding. Here's Why He Shouldn’t.," 11 Jan. 2019 The inn, which has 21 guest rooms and 18 suites, is housed in the Kan’in-no-miya imperial family’s former summer retreat. Jessica Flint, WSJ, "A Discerning Vacationer’s Guide to Escaping from Tokyo," 6 Dec. 2018 At the time, Rome’s four emperors—a ruling group called the Tetrarchy—were fighting among themselves for greater shares of imperial power, and the Imperial Horse Guard staunchly supported Emperor Maxentius. Kiona N. Smith, Ars Technica, "Archaeologists map centuries of history beneath world’s oldest cathedral," 30 Nov. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The seasoning is a must for steamed crabs and perfect for crab cakes, crab imperials, and the like. Dan Rodricks, baltimoresun.com, "The care and handling of crab cakes," 12 May 2017

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

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Noun

circa 1524, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for imperial

Adjective

Middle English imperial, emperiall, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French emperial, imperiall, borrowed from Latin imperiālis "of the Roman emperor," from imperium "supreme administrative authority, power exercised by a Roman emperor" + -ālis -al entry 1 — more at empire

Noun

derivative of imperial entry 1, probably after Middle French imperiaux (plural); (sense 3) translation of French impériale

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imperial

Statistics for imperial

Last Updated

7 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imperial

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imperial

imperial

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of imperial

: of or relating to an empire or an emperor

imperial

adjective
im·​pe·​ri·​al | \ im-ˈpir-ē-əl How to pronounce imperial (audio) \

Kids Definition of imperial

: of or relating to an empire or its ruler the imperial palace

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on imperial

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imperial

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imperial

Spanish Central: Translation of imperial

Nglish: Translation of imperial for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imperial for Arabic Speakers

Comments on imperial

What made you want to look up imperial? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to move or proceed with twists and turns

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!