im·pri·ma·tur | \ˌim-prə-ˈmä-ˌtu̇r, im-ˈpri-mə-ˌtu̇r, -ˌtyu̇r \

Definition of imprimatur 

1a : a license to print or publish especially by Roman Catholic episcopal authority

b : approval of a publication under circumstances of official censorship

2a : sanction, approval

b : imprint

c : a mark of approval or distinction

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Synonyms & Antonyms for imprimatur


approbation, approval, blessing, favor, OK (or okay)


disapprobation, disapproval, disfavor

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Did You Know?

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

Trump’s aides and associates see Kardashian’s celebrity imprimatur as crucial and alluring to the president. James Hohmann, Washington Post, "The Daily 202: The Democratic establishment strikes back in California, New Jersey and other primaries," 6 June 2018 Trump's aides and associates see Kardashian's celebrity imprimatur as crucial and alluring to the president., "Trump fixates on pardons, could soon give reprieve to 63-year-old woman after meeting with Kim Kardashian," 5 June 2018 But last month, for the first time, a state judge added the imprimatur of a judicial ruling to the chorus of voices clamoring for reform, lending momentum to those who want to abolish the practice. Alan Feuer, New York Times, "Judge Says New York’s Bail Law Treats Poor Unfairly," 11 Feb. 2018 Only the fourth, a quite beautiful, arcing strike from Denis Cheryshev, did not bear his imprimatur. Rory Smith, New York Times, "For Russia, Five Goals and One Big Sigh of Relief," 14 June 2018 Now, the addition of the DNC will give the tool the official imprimatur of the national party. NBC News, "Democrats adopt unified 'marketplace' for volunteers," 28 June 2018 Even so, certain authors might prefer the imprimatur of a literary institution over a celebrity’s. Lauren Mechling, Time, "Sarah Jessica Parker Is the Latest Celebrity to Start Her Own Book Imprint," 14 June 2018 Second, the upheaval Mr Zinke has caused is already a setback to the collaborative, locally grounded approach to land management that the plans, despite their federal imprimatur, represent. The Economist, "The parable of the sage grouse," 3 May 2018 Amid a general enthusiasm for using cloud computing to improve effectiveness, the CIA imprimatur suggested that Amazon Web Services, the cloud-computing division known as AWS, was a safe choice, these observers said. Brody Mullins, WSJ, "As Trump Bashes Amazon, the Government Relies on It," 5 Apr. 2018

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 1a

History and Etymology for imprimatur

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

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Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for imprimatur

The first known use of imprimatur was in 1640

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English Language Learners Definition of imprimatur

: official approval

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one that holds something together

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