pe·​remp·​to·​ry | \ pə-ˈrem(p)-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce peremptory (audio) \

Definition of peremptory

1a : putting an end to or precluding a right of action, debate, or delay specifically : not providing an opportunity to show cause why one should not comply a peremptory mandamus
b : admitting of no contradiction
2 : expressive of urgency or command a peremptory call
3a : characterized by often imperious or arrogant self-assurance how insolent of late he is become, how proud, how peremptory— William Shakespeare
b : indicative of a peremptory attitude or nature : haughty a peremptory tone peremptory disregard of an objection

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Other Words from peremptory

peremptorily \ pə-​ˈrem(p)-​t(ə-​)rə-​lē How to pronounce peremptorily (audio) ; -​ˌrem(p)-​ˈtȯr-​ə-​lē \ adverb
peremptoriness \ pə-​ˈrem(p)-​t(ə-​)rē-​nəs How to pronounce peremptoriness (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for peremptory

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

Did You Know?

Peremptory is ultimately from Latin perimere, which means "to take entirely" or "destroy" and comes from per- ("thoroughly") and emere ("to take"). Peremptory implies the removal of one's option to disagree or contest something. It sometimes suggests an abrupt dictatorial manner combined with an unwillingness to tolerate disobedience or dissent (as in "he was given a peremptory dismissal"). A related term is the adjective preemptive, which comes from Latin praeemere-from prae- ("before") plus emere. Preemptive means "marked by the seizing of the initiative" (as in "a preemptive attack").

Examples of peremptory in a Sentence

Her peremptory tone angered me. the governor's peremptory personal assistant began telling the crowd of reporters and photographers exactly where they had to stand
Recent Examples on the Web Still bossy and blunt to the point of obnoxiousness, Olive has found the ideal narrator in Farr, who captures her peremptory manner and brutal honesty to a tee. Washington Post, "The best audiobooks of 2019," 21 Nov. 2019 Kupato sat in the front seat next to the driver, using peremptory hand signals to direct the way. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest," 4 Nov. 2019 My answers to his questions grew more and more peremptory. Dale Peck, The New Republic, "My Mayor Pete Problem," 12 July 2019 Though Mr Cetinkaya was not widely admired by investors, his peremptory removal unsettled markets. The Economist, "Recep Tayyip Erdogan sacks the head of Turkey’s central bank," 11 July 2019 Murder, rape, concentration camps, child abuse—all these taboos have lost some of their peremptory power in the past month alone. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "The Death of Taboo," 27 June 2019 But they are also allowed to make peremptory strikes, which require no explanation. Pete Williams, NBC News, "Supreme Court rules for black death row inmate over prosecutor's racial bias," 21 June 2019 Second was the state using peremptory strikes against five of six African Americans., "Supreme Court throws out conviction of man tried 6 times for murders," 21 June 2019 Evans eliminated 41 of 43 potential black jurors for whom he was allowed to issue peremptory strikes. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court overturns conviction of man tried six times for murder, citing racism in jury selection," 21 June 2019

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for peremptory

Middle English peremptorie, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin & Latin; Late Latin peremptorius, from Latin, destructive, from perimere to take entirely, destroy, from per- thoroughly + emere to take — more at redeem

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The first known use of peremptory was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Peremptory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for peremptory


How to pronounce peremptory (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of peremptory

used to describe an order, command, etc., that you must obey without any questions or excuses
disapproving : having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they should be obeyed without question


pe·​remp·​to·​ry | \ pə-ˈremp-tə-rē How to pronounce peremptory (audio) \

Legal Definition of peremptory

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : permitting no dispute, alternative, or delay specifically : not providing an opportunity to show cause why one should not comply when the right to require the performance of the act is clear and it is apparent that no valid excuse can be given for not performing it, a peremptory mandamus may be allowed Revised Statutes of Nebraska
2 : not requiring cause — see also peremptory challenge at challenge

Other Words from peremptory

peremptorily \ pə-​ˈremp-​tə-​rə-​lē, -​ˌremp-​ˈtōr-​ə-​lē How to pronounce peremptorily (audio) \ adverb
peremptoriness \ -​ˈremp-​tə-​rē-​nəs How to pronounce peremptoriness (audio) \ noun


plural peremptories

Legal Definition of peremptory (Entry 2 of 2)

: peremptory challenge at challenge

History and Etymology for peremptory


Late Latin peremptorius, from Latin, destructive, from perimere to take entirely, destroy

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