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

Definition of imperious

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

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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 Thornburgh ran into trouble with the press and members of Congress who were put off by his imperious manner. Fox News, "Dick Thornburgh, ex-Pa. governor and US attorney general, dead at 88," 1 Jan. 2021 Napoleon admired Duport but was increasingly outraged by his imperious behavior and salary demands. New York Times, "The Behind-the-Scenes Assist That Made Beethoven’s Ninth Happen," 8 Dec. 2020 Bayern Munich’s victory, for example, was preceded by the most imperious group stage in the competition’s history. Rory Smith, New York Times, "The Champions League’s New Twist: Injury Roulette," 11 Dec. 2020 The Americans are gone, but their imperious scars linger. Cheri Lucas Rowlands, Longreads, "‘My Tongue Swallowing the Taste of Home Soil’: On Filipino Food, Family, and Identity," 20 Nov. 2020 Damian Lewis is the imperious and temperamental Henry VIII in this wonderful miniseries adapted from the book trilogy of the same name. Therese Odell, Chron, "7 TV shows you'll love after you've binged 'The Crown'," 17 Nov. 2020 The Tiger Woods who spoke this week at The Masters seemed more nostalgic than imperious. Jim Souhan, Star Tribune, "Tiger Woods turns nostalgic at the Masters but still thinks he can contend," 11 Nov. 2020 As Grace, Kidman seems, at times, unsure of her own character’s intentions, shifting from blithe merriment to imperious boss-lady outbursts to turned-up-to-eleven distress. Naomi Fry, The New Yorker, "“The Undoing” Is Empty Life-style Porn," 9 Nov. 2020 Nothing is more imperious than the academic insistence on how our tastes in art and music are reshaped by class conflict and social upheaval. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, "In Love with the Louvre," 19 Oct. 2020

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.

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First Known Use of imperious

1529, 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

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Time Traveler for imperious

Time Traveler

The first known use of imperious was in 1529

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Statistics for imperious

Last Updated

15 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imperious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2021.

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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

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Nglish: Translation of imperious for Spanish Speakers

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