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[im-uh-mawr-ee-uh l, -mohr-] /ˌɪm əˈmɔr i əl, -ˈmoʊr-/
extending back beyond memory, record, or knowledge:
from time immemorial.
Origin of immemorial
1595-1605; < Medieval Latin immemoriālis. See im-2, memorial
Related forms
immemorially, adverb
timeless, ancient, ageless, olden. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for immemorial
Historical Examples
  • According to immemorial custom a few pebbles should be thrown in to lie on the floor of the bath.

  • Wat's thumb was raised to his nose in an immemorial gesture.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • The excitement of making new friends, and learning the immemorial lore of Yale, pulled him out of his shell of seclusion.

    Mountain Clement Wood
  • War, of course, is an immemorial source of romantic feeling.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • True, there were the immemorial laws of self-preservation and retaliation, both of which were liberally interpreted.

  • The human mind from immemorial antiquity has ceased to regard it.

  • In immemorial Trojan times this fortification had been used as a watch-tower.

    The Death of the Gods Dmitri Mrejkowski
  • Philosophers as well as immemorial kings, Pharaohs and Ptolemys, are on our side.

    The Library Andrew Lang
  • The real continuity with an immemorial past which inspires all Gallic things is discoverable in this arrangement of Gaul.

    First and Last H. Belloc
  • Truth and mercy are immemorial characteristics of a king's conduct.

British Dictionary definitions for immemorial


originating in the distant past; ancient (postpositive in the phrase time immemorial)
Derived Forms
immemorially, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Medieval Latin immemoriālis, from Latin im- (not) + memoriamemory
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 immemorial

c.1600, from French immémorial (16c.) "old beyond memory," from Medieval Latin immemorialis, from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + memorialis (see memorial). Something immemorial is ancient beyond memory; something immemorable is not memorable.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with immemorial


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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