Definition of peremptory
- a peremptory mandamus
- a peremptory call
- how insolent of late he is become, how proud, how peremptory
- —William Shakespeare
- a peremptory tone
- peremptory disregard of an objection
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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
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.
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").
arrogant, bumptious, cavalier, chesty, haughty, high-and-mighty, high-handed, high-hat, highfalutin (also hifalutin), huffish, huffy, imperious, important, lofty, lordly, masterful, overweening, pompous, presuming, presumptuous, pretentious, self-asserting, self-assertive, sniffy, supercilious, superior, uppish, uppity;
complacent, conceited, egocentric, egoistic (also egoistical), egotistic (or egotistical), narcissistic, prideful, proud, self-affected, self-applauding, self-centered, self-complacent, self-conceited, self-pleased, self-satisfied, smug, stuck-up;
—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
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