im·​pri·​ma·​tur | \ ˌim-prə-ˈmä-ˌtu̇r How to pronounce imprimatur (audio) , im-ˈpri-mə-ˌtu̇r How to pronounce imprimatur (audio) , -ˌtyu̇r \

Definition of imprimatur

c : a mark of approval or distinction
2a : a license to print or publish especially by Roman Catholic episcopal authority
b : approval of a publication under circumstances of official censorship

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Imprimatur means "let it be printed" in New Latin. It comes from Latin imprimere, meaning to "imprint" or "impress." In the 1600s, the word appeared in the front matter of books, accompanied by the name of an official authorizing the book's printing. It was also in the 1600s that English speakers began using imprimatur in the general sense of "official approval." The Roman Catholic Church still issues imprimaturs for books concerned with religious matters (to indicate that a work contains nothing offensive to Catholic morals or faith), and there have been other authorities for imprimaturs as well. For example, when Samuel Pepys was president of the Royal Society, he placed his imprimatur on the title page of England's great scientific work, Sir Isaac Newton's Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, in 1687.

Examples of imprimatur in a Sentence

He gave the book his imprimatur. could not begin the project without the boss's imprimatur
Recent Examples on the Web Should the negotiations not work, O’Donnell said police would have no other choice but to move in, perhaps with the imprimatur of a court order characterizing CHOP as a threat to public safety. Fox News, "Experts fear reclaiming Seattle 'CHOP' zone is daunting task," 23 June 2020 Now, the populist lawmaker can rightfully claim Trump’s imprimatur in the midst of the presidential campaign. W. James Antle Iii, Washington Examiner, "Trump's two-front 2020 Twitter war," 11 June 2020 But few of them wielded the imprimatur of Harvard University, or sought the public spotlight so relentlessly, or sprang into action to defend those who could readily find other lawyers to defend them. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Alan Dershowitz Hasn’t Changed One Bit," 22 Jan. 2020 The movie bears the imprimatur of Human Rights Watch and, after this limited release, will stream during in June. Michael Ordoña, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Lena Headey drama ‘The Flood’ dryly humanizes refugee crisis," 27 Feb. 2020 Instead, the project is offered as an authoritative account that bears the imprimatur and credibility of The New York Times. New York Times, "Letter to the Editor: Historians Critique The 1619 Project, and We Respond," 21 Dec. 2019 The level of distrust is so high among partisans, even those doctors whom Trump has given his public imprimatur are regarded warily by many of his supporters. Pradheep J. Shanker, National Review, "Sympathy and Empathy in the Time of Coronavirus," 8 Apr. 2020 Its imprimatur also gives Rivian credibility, which is crucial for an untested start-up. Jack Ewing, New York Times, "Tesla Isn’t the Only Start-Up Disrupting the Car Business," 4 Mar. 2020 Brady told us all year through his body language and his refusal to grant his imprimatur that the offense was inadequate. Globe Staff,, "Tom Brady’s preference has to be staying with Patriots," 10 Jan. 2020

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

1640, in the meaning defined at sense 2a

History and Etymology for imprimatur

New Latin, let it be printed, from imprimere to print, from Latin, to imprint, impress — more at impress entry 1

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The first known use of imprimatur was in 1640

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Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Imprimatur.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce imprimatur (audio) How to pronounce imprimatur (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of imprimatur

formal : official approval

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