: to invoke evil on : curse
"Mallory imprecated the weather when the ink froze in his fountain pen…." — Stanley Snaith, At Grips with Everest, 1938
"The people would pause, look out at the Missouri rolling past and quietly carrying down trees like doomed pinnaces, and the workers' sweating brows wrinkled, but I heard no one imprecate the river; each just went back to passing along stories and sandbags." — William Least Heat-Moon, River-Horse, 1999
Did You Know?
It may surprise you to learn that a word that refers to wishing evil upon someone has its roots in praying, but imprecate ultimately derives from the Latin verb precari, meaning "to pray, ask, or entreat." Precari is also the ancestor of such English words as deprecate (which once meant "to pray against an evil," though that sense is now archaic), precatory ("expressing a wish") and even pray itself (which has deeper roots in the Latin noun for a request or entreaty, prex).
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