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

Evans has been accused of using peremptory strikes to keep black people off Mississippi juries. Michael Harriot, The Root, "Whiteness Is a Superpower," 15 June 2018 As The Register points out, what’s unusual here is the peremptory nature of the Commission’s ruling. James Vincent, The Verge, "UK companies and residents will be stripped of .EU domains after Brexit," 30 Mar. 2018 Their lack of rapport was evident in the peremptory way the president fired him. Mark Landler, Maggie Haberman And Gardiner Harris, New York Times, "In Replacing Tillerson With Pompeo, Trump Turns to Loyalists Who Reflect ‘America First’ Views," 13 Mar. 2018 His peremptory order also unseated Cyril Magnin, the city’s official greeter and the couple’s host, and his daughter Ellen Newman, who also had an ice cream cone in hand. Johnny Miller, San Francisco Chronicle, "Corpse found in crawl space near Tenderloin restaurant, 1993," 14 Mar. 2018 In this one, the first of a series published from 1935 to 1961, readers are introduced to a nervous Londoner named Pongo Twistleton, whose orderly life is disarrayed by the visit of his peremptory and mischievous uncle Fred from the country. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: Surprise Lessons From John Lithgow’s ‘Stories by Heart’," 11 Jan. 2018 And power, as it is exercised within the world’s largest political group, is ruthless, peremptory and cloaked. Andrew Browne, WSJ, "Ruthless and Cloaked: Beijing Pushes Its Secretive Power Abroad," 24 Oct. 2017 By turns peremptory and sweet, Godinez is great at wrangling helpers, voluntary and reluctant. Tony Adler, Chicago Reader, "Spoiler alert: this Quixote comes to a bad end," 11 Oct. 2017 His prosecutor, a district attorney named Joseph Briley, came to the case with a reputation for using peremptory strikes during jury selection in a racially discriminatory fashion. Andrew Cohen, Esquire, "Why I Believe the Supreme Court Needs to Stop This Georgia Execution," 14 Sep. 2017

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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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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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peremptory

Spanish Central: Translation of peremptory

Nglish: Translation of peremptory for Spanish Speakers

Comments on peremptory

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


to take the place or position of

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