im·​pe·​ri·​ous | \ im-ˈpir-ē-əs How to pronounce imperious (audio) \

Definition of imperious

1a : befitting or characteristic of one of eminent rank or attainments : commanding, dominant an imperious manner
b : marked by arrogant assurance : domineering
2 : intensely compelling : urgent the imperious problems of the new age— J. F. Kennedy

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from imperious

imperiously adverb
imperiousness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for imperious

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 imperious in a Sentence

an imperious little boy who liked to tell the other scouts what to do an imperious movie star who thinks she's some sort of goddess

Recent Examples on the Web

Argus plays the diva grandly, sinking her teeth into the role of Dorothy, the imperious star attempting her big comeback., "Summer Lyric presents tap-happy love song to Broadway with ‘42nd Street’," 19 June 2019 There’s some intrigue around the possibility of a mole inside MiB London, which is run by the imperious High T (Liam Neeson) and the squirrelly Agent C (Rafe Spall). David Sims, The Atlantic, "Men in Black: International Forgets What Made the Original So Great," 12 June 2019 Significantly, the decree to don the midi came from Paris, the historic center of the fashion world, where la mode is at its most imperious. Nancy Macdonell, WSJ, "How the Midi Skirt Vanquished the Mini Skirt," 17 Oct. 2018 His Spurs side faded to defeat against Juventus in the last 16 of last season's Champions League, while Modrić produced an imperious display in Real Madrid's 3-1 win over Liverpool in the final., "Christian Eriksen Makes Bold Claim About Luka Modrić Ahead of Denmark's World Cup Clash With Croatia," 29 June 2018 The address marked a shift for a man protesters have branded as out-of-touch and imperious. Noemie Bisserbe, WSJ, "Macron Announces Measures to Placate Protesters," 10 Dec. 2018 The fuel-tax hike was an unforced error that aroused rural voters who have never liked his imperious style. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Macron’s Salvage Operation," 11 Dec. 2018 On Monday, Melania silently cruised through an alley of blood-red Christmas trees, as imperious as Mrs. Waterford overseeing a row of arboreal handmaids. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "The Week in Washington: Tough Times For Individual One," 2 Dec. 2018 Her barely tuneful songs and limited musical range only added to her imperious allure. Eve Macsweeney, Vogue, "A Darkly Beautiful and Unflinching Testament to a Musical Icon’s Final Years," 2 Aug. 2018

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

1540, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for imperious

borrowed from Latin imperiōsus "exercising authority, domineering," from imperium "authority over family members and slaves exercised by the head of a household, supreme administrative authority, dominion" + -ōsus -ous — more at empire

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about imperious

Statistics for imperious

Last Updated

4 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for imperious

The first known use of imperious was in 1540

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imperious



English Language Learners Definition of imperious

formal : having or showing the proud and unpleasant attitude of someone who gives orders and expects other people to obey them

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on imperious

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with imperious

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for imperious

Spanish Central: Translation of imperious

Nglish: Translation of imperious for Spanish Speakers

Comments on imperious

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


food or victuals

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


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!