imminent

adjective
im·​mi·​nent | \ ˈi-mə-nənt How to pronounce imminent (audio) \

Definition of imminent

: ready to take place : happening soon … systems engineers have become rather blasé about the imminent liftoff.— Steven L. Thompson often used of something bad or dangerous seen as menacingly near imminent disasterLike books, board games appear headed for imminent demise at the hands of cathode-ray terminals.— Will Manley

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from imminent

imminently adverb

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 imminent in a Sentence

The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the local authorities were momentarily stunned, and began frantically trying to prepare for what they feared were further imminent attacks. — Richard A. Clarke, Atlantic, January/February 2005 The compression squashes the bullet slightly, enabling about a half-dozen spiral grooves cut along the barrel's inner wall to grab the bullet and make it spin. That spin stabilizes the bullet's imminent flight. — Peter Weiss, Science News, 11 Jan. 2003 Plaints about the imminent demise of the language are made in every century. But there is usually nothing inherently wrong with most changes the purists deplore. — Steven Pinker, New York Times, 24 Dec. 1999 We are awaiting their imminent arrival. These patients are facing imminent death.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web The hottest temperatures ever recorded in Oregon were imminent. James Ross Gardner, The New Yorker, 11 Oct. 2021 Experts agree that armed conflict is not imminent, but as military activity increases, there are growing fears that a mishap or miscalculation could lead to an unintended escalation. David Rising, ajc, 9 Oct. 2021 While most agree that war is not imminent, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warned that more is at stake if Beijing makes good on past threats to seize the island by force if necessary. Fox News, 6 Oct. 2021 While most agree that war is not imminent, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warned that more is at stake if Beijing makes good on past threats to seize the island by force if necessary. Huizhong Wu And David Rising, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Oct. 2021 By combining this consultative activity with AI and predictive analytics, utilities deploy a sophisticated method to understand imminent risk for disruption to their territory and an action plan to lessen the impact to the grid and customers. Renny Vandewege, Forbes, 13 Sep. 2021 Five rural hospitals have closed in the past decade, and 35 more are at imminent risk of closing, according to an assessment from a nonprofit health care quality agency. New York Times, 29 Aug. 2021 Five rural hospitals have closed in the past decade, and 35 more are at imminent risk of closing, according to an assessment from a nonprofit health care quality agency. BostonGlobe.com, 29 Aug. 2021 To address delays in approving applications, the city has prioritized tenants facing imminent risk of eviction and utility termination, Mavronis said. Billy Jean Louis, baltimoresun.com, 28 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imminent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of imminent

1528, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for imminent

Latin imminent-, imminens, present participle of imminēre to project, threaten, from in- + -minēre (akin to Latin mont-, mons mountain) — more at mount

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About imminent

Time Traveler for imminent

Time Traveler

The first known use of imminent was in 1528

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near imminent

imminency

imminent

immingle

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for imminent

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Imminent.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/imminent. Accessed 17 Oct. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for imminent

imminent

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of imminent

: happening very soon

imminent

adjective
im·​mi·​nent | \ ˈi-mə-nənt How to pronounce imminent (audio) \

Kids Definition of imminent

: being about to happen imminent danger

More from Merriam-Webster on imminent

Nglish: Translation of imminent for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of imminent for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!