em·​i·​nent | \ ˈe-mə-nənt How to pronounce eminent (audio) \

Essential Meaning of eminent

: successful, well-known and respected an eminent physician

Full Definition of eminent

1 : exhibiting eminence especially in standing above others in some quality or position : prominent
2 : standing out so as to be readily perceived or noted : conspicuous
3 : jutting out : projecting

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Choose the Right Synonym for eminent

famous, renowned, celebrated, noted, notorious, distinguished, eminent, illustrious mean known far and wide. famous implies little more than the fact of being, sometimes briefly, widely and popularly known. a famous actress renowned implies more glory and acclamation. one of the most renowned figures in sports history celebrated implies notice and attention especially in print. the most celebrated beauty of her day noted suggests well-deserved public attention. the noted mystery writer notorious frequently adds to famous an implication of questionableness or evil. a notorious gangster distinguished implies acknowledged excellence or superiority. a distinguished scientist who won the Nobel Prize eminent implies even greater prominence for outstanding quality or character. the country's most eminent writers illustrious stresses enduring honor and glory attached to a deed or person. illustrious war heroes

On Imminent and Eminent

Imminent bears a close resemblance to eminent, and native English-speakers can be excused if they sometimes have to check their spelling. No surprise, really, since the two, despite their very distinct meanings, come from near-identical sources. The Latin minēre means basically “to project, overhang,” and it forms the root of other Latin words. One added the prefix e-, meaning “out from,” to produce eminēre, “to stand out”; another took the prefix im-, meaning “upon,” and became imminēre, “to project.” The difference between “stand out” and “project” is obviously small. Still, even when eminent and imminent first appeared as English words in the 15th and 16th centuries respectively, they were clearly distinct in meaning, imminent’s prefix having strengthened the “overhang” sense of minēre to give the word its frequent suggestion of looming threat.

Examples of eminent in a Sentence

The trend discerned by Wilde a century ago, of course, has only accelerated in recent years, as the line between trashy celebrity exposés and serious biographies of eminent artists, statesmen and thinkers has grown increasingly blurred. — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 20 May 1994 Next year sees the 150th anniversary of the 'invention' of the dinosaurs by the eminent English anatomist and palaeontologist, Richard Owen. — Nicholas Fraser, Nature, 20 & 27 Dec. 1990 many eminent surgeons are on the hospital's staff
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Recent Examples on the Web After being closed for 572 days because of the pandemic, Carnegie Hall, the country’s pre-eminent concert space, opened its season on Wednesday. New York Times, 7 Oct. 2021 But both countries are also the two world's largest economies and pre-eminent military and political powers. BostonGlobe.com, 7 Oct. 2021 But both countries are also the two world’s largest economies and pre-eminent military and political powers. Nomaan Merchant, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Oct. 2021 In keeping with the area's rich cultural history, each of the rooms is themed around an eminent local figure. Rebecca Rose, Travel + Leisure, 24 Sep. 2021 The bond market’s pre-eminent trade group has worked out ways to handle trading, clearing and settlement of affected securities. Liz Mccormick, Bloomberg.com, 24 Sep. 2021 As if a darkening sky somewhere might signal the eminent departure of ducks to distant potholes, hopefully ours. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, 18 Sep. 2021 But the experts, eminent statisticians given inside access to census processes, limited their finding to the overall national tally and counts in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The New York Times, Arkansas Online, 15 Sep. 2021 The commission’s members are themselves mostly eminent scholars of the Court’s work, preponderantly but by no means exclusively liberal ones. Matthew J. Franck, National Review, 12 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'eminent.' 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 eminent

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for eminent

Middle English, from Anglo-French or Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin eminent-, eminens, present participle of eminēre to stand out, from e- + -minēre; akin to Latin mont-, mons mountain — more at mount

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Time Traveler for eminent

Time Traveler

The first known use of eminent was in the 15th century

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Dictionary Entries Near eminent



eminent domain

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Last Updated

21 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Eminent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/eminent. Accessed 28 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for eminent


em·​i·​nent | \ ˈe-mə-nənt How to pronounce eminent (audio) \

Kids Definition of eminent

: successful, well-known, and respected an eminent physician

More from Merriam-Webster on eminent

Nglish: Translation of eminent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of eminent for Arabic Speakers


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