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

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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 The court said the prosecutor had used his peremptory challenges — each side’s ability to remove a prospective juror without stating a reason — to dismiss nine of the 11 Blacks on the panel and six of about 30 prospective jurors who were not Black. Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, 10 Sep. 2021 Apart from preventing discriminatory abuse of peremptory challenges, their elimination presents opportunities to streamline jury selection, the Yavapai County Superior Court judges' comment said. Paul Davenport, The Arizona Republic, 30 Aug. 2021 Both sides in criminal trials are allowed a limited number of peremptory challenges to dismiss potential jurors, but they’re not allowed to make such challenges based solely on a person’s membership in a particular racial or ethnic group., 16 Aug. 2021 After the group was whittled down, both sides were allowed to make peremptory challenges on Wednesday. Victoria Bekiempis, Vulture, 12 Aug. 2021 Batson-Wheeler challenges are more traditionally used when prosecutors use their peremptory strikes to remove potential Black jurors. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Apr. 2021 Nelson has used nine of 15 peremptory strikes by the end of Monday. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, 15 Mar. 2021 In a reversal of an earlier decision, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Rita Lin found that of nine Asian potential jurors public defender Max Breecker dismissed during peremptory challenges, three were excused for impermissible reasons. Megan Cassidy, San Francisco Chronicle, 29 Apr. 2021 The only indication that a jury has been seated is a notation on the docket showing the prosecution and defense met privately with the judge Thursday to exercise their peremptory challenges, the final stage of jury selection., 25 Apr. 2021

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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peremptory challenge

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Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Peremptory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Oct. 2021.

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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
: having or showing the insulting attitude of people who think that they should be obeyed without question : arrogant


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 peremptory (audio) \ adverb
peremptoriness \ -​ˈremp-​tə-​rē-​nəs How to pronounce peremptory (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

More from Merriam-Webster on peremptory

Nglish: Translation of peremptory for Spanish Speakers


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