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[em-per-er] /ˈɛm pər ər/
the male sovereign or supreme ruler of an empire:
the emperors of Rome.
Chiefly British. a size of drawing or writing paper, 48 × 72 inches (122 × 183 cm).
Origin of emperor
1175-1225; Middle English empero(u)r < Anglo-French; Old French empereor < Latin imperātor orig., one who gives orders, ruler, equivalent to imperā(re) to order, command (im- im-1 + -perāre, combining form of parāre to provide, prepare) + -tor -tor
Related forms
emperorship, noun
preemperor, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for emperor
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The emperor, Alexius, intending to complain, sent messengers to Peter.

    Peter the Hermit Daniel A. Goodsell
  • Yes, to Germany, to help the emperor to set the world on fire.

    The World Peril of 1910 George Griffith
  • The emperor had first proposed it while serving under Henry's banners in France.

    Henry VIII. A. F. Pollard
  • In 1800 an edict of the emperor prohibited the importation of opium into his dominions.

    Four Young Explorers Oliver Optic
  • But of the emperor they said, "He is in the clothes closet!"

    Children's Literature Charles Madison Curry
British Dictionary definitions for emperor


a monarch who rules or reigns over an empire
Also called emperor moth. any of several large saturniid moths with eyelike markings on each wing, esp Saturnia pavonia of Europe See also giant peacock moth
Derived Forms
emperorship, noun
Word Origin
C13: from Old French empereor, from Latin imperātor commander-in-chief, from imperāre to command, from im- + parāre to make ready
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for emperor

early 13c., from Old French empereor (accusative; nominative emperere; Modern French empereur), from Latin imperiatorem (nominative imperiator) "commander, emperor," from past participle stem of imperare "to command" (see empire).

Originally a title conferred by vote of the Roman army on a successful general, later by the Senate on Julius and Augustus Caesar and adopted by their successors except Tiberius and Claudius. In the Middle Ages, applied to rulers of China, Japan, etc.; only non-historical European application in English was to the Holy Roman Emperors (who in German documents are called kaiser), from late 13c., until in 1804 Napoleon took the title "Emperor of the French."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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