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

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 If both sides were allowed an unlimited number of peremptory strikes, impaneling a jury in any trial would prove an impossible task. Kyler Alvord, Peoplemag, 17 Apr. 2024 The parties are allowed to strike an unlimited number of jurors for cause, while each side is permitted ten peremptory strikes, which are used to excuse jurors for any reason. Peter Charalambous, ABC News, 15 Apr. 2024 After all objections are made — either for cause or via peremptory strike — those who remain are chosen to serve, Hamilton said. Brendan Rascius, Miami Herald, 12 Apr. 2024 Their fraught reunion happens on Ellis Island, where they are queried by a peremptory immigration official, who communicates in a mixture of English and trombone. Rhoda Feng, Washington Post, 2 Apr. 2024 But Honduras continued to make willful and peremptory demands, even publicly releasing incorrect information, causing harm to the government of Taiwan. Paul Best, Fox News, 27 Mar. 2023 But under international law, Russia is not entitled to compensation if the countermeasure is proportionate and prompted by Russia’s own grave breach of peremptory norms of international law—a breach that has already been affirmed by both the International Court of Justice and the United Nations. Lawrence H. Summers, Foreign Affairs, 15 June 2023 Besides the request to the court for a peremptory writ of mandate to obtain, records, McPherson also asks for the reimbursement of attorneys’ fees and other costs associated with the suit. Variety, NBC News, 7 Apr. 2023 The people working there, with their flushed faces, peremptory manner, and white uniforms, greeted her like a lifelong acquaintance. Thomas Bunstead, Harper's Magazine, 21 Feb. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'peremptory.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 24 Jun. 2024.

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

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

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