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 Current law allows prosecutors and defense attorneys to remove prospective jurors through peremptory challenges. Dustin Gardiner,, "California to study slavery reparations for African Americans," 30 Sep. 2020 Perhaps the least compelling part of the majority opinion is its peremptory pooh-poohing of complaints about Sullivan’s bias against Flynn. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "D.C. Circuit Rules against Michael Flynn, Sending Case Back to Judge Sullivan," 1 Sep. 2020 Current state law allows prosecutors and defense attorneys to remove prospective jurors through peremptory challenges. Dustin Gardiner,, "California lawmakers pass bill to diversify largely white, wealthier juries," 31 Aug. 2020 Delucchi nonetheless removed them without requiring prosecutors to use any of their peremptory challenges, which allow each side to dismiss a certain number of jurors without stating a reason. Bob Egelko,, "Scott Peterson’s death penalty overturned in murder of wife, unborn child," 24 Aug. 2020 On Friday, the state’s high court issued what’s called a peremptory writ of mandamus vacating Shirtcliff’s injunction. oregonlive, "Oregon Supreme Court vacates Baker County judge’s ruling that found Gov. Brown’s emergency social gathering restrictions void during coronavirus pandemic," 12 June 2020 Justice David Viviano said a split decision couldn’t grant peremptory relief. Scott Mcclallen, Washington Examiner, "Michigan Supreme Court tosses Owosso barber's order to close," 8 June 2020 Still bossy and blunt to the point of obnoxiousness, Olive has found the ideal narrator in Farr, who captures her peremptory manner and brutal honesty to a tee. Washington Post, "The best audiobooks of 2019," 21 Nov. 2019 Kupato sat in the front seat next to the driver, using peremptory hand signals to direct the way. Jon Lee Anderson, The New Yorker, "Blood Gold in the Brazilian Rain Forest," 4 Nov. 2019

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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Last Updated

6 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Peremptory.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for peremptory


How to pronounce peremptory (audio)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on peremptory

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for peremptory

Nglish: Translation of peremptory for Spanish Speakers

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