pe·​remp·​to·​ry pə-ˈrem(p)-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce peremptory (audio)
: 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
: admitting of no contradiction
: expressive of urgency or command
a peremptory call
: characterized by often imperious or arrogant self-assurance
how insolent of late he is become, how proud, how peremptoryWilliam Shakespeare
: indicative of a peremptory attitude or nature : haughty
a peremptory tone
peremptory disregard of an objection
pə-ˈrem(p)-t(ə-)rə-lē How to pronounce peremptory (audio)
peremptoriness noun

Did you know?

Peremptory comes from Latin perimere, which means "to take entirely" or "to destroy." The prefix per- means "thoroughly," and emere means "to take." Implying the removal of one's option to disagree or contest something, peremptory stays close to its roots.

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

Example Sentences

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 He was convicted and sentenced to death, but an appeals court overturned that initial outcome and ordered a new trial, finding the state had based peremptory challenges to prospective jurors on their race. Dakin Andone, CNN, 17 Nov. 2022 Yet Daney’s inhibition about the subjective side of criticism stands in striking contrast to the peremptory enthusiasms of his prime forebears at Cahiers in the fifties. Richard Brody, The New Yorker, 8 Sep. 2022 Variety’s lack of historical recall and insight presents these new peremptory requests as industry advances. Armond White, National Review, 23 Sep. 2022 The final panel was selected after both prosecutors and attorneys for Kelly and his two-co-defendants used their peremptory strikes to further pare down the jury pool. Megan Crepeau, Chicago Tribune, 17 Aug. 2022 Instead, both strike-outs proposed by Nadell were peremptory challenges — meaning the prosecutor didn’t have to offer a rationale. oregonlive, 13 July 2022 On Wednesday, the defense and the prosecution are also expected to express peremptory challenges, which could alter the final jury. Lawrence Richard, Fox News, 29 June 2022 The defense wound up using all 10 of its peremptory challenges, eliminating candidates for any reason other than race or gender, while the prosecution used four. Terry Spencer,, 29 June 2022 Both sides in each case will be able to use 10 peremptory challenges to excuse a potential juror without reason. Richard Wintonstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 13 June 2022 See More

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.

Word History


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

First Known Use

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

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


Dictionary Entries Near peremptory

Cite this Entry

“Peremptory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Feb. 2023.

Kids Definition


pe·​remp·​to·​ry pə-ˈrem(p)-t(ə-)rē How to pronounce peremptory (audio)
: not to be refused
a peremptory summons from the boss
: expressing command
called for silence with a peremptory gesture
: showing the attitude of one accustomed to command : arrogant
the peremptory tone caused resentment
peremptorily adverb
peremptoriness noun

Legal Definition


1 of 2 adjective
pe·​remp·​to·​ry pə-ˈremp-tə-rē How to pronounce peremptory (audio)
: 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
: not requiring cause see also peremptory challenge at challenge
peremptoriness noun


2 of 2 noun
plural peremptories
: 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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