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[im-uh-nuh nt] /ˈɪm ə nənt/
likely to occur at any moment; impending:
Her death is imminent.
projecting or leaning forward; overhanging.
Origin of imminent
1520-30; < Latin imminent- (stem of imminēns), present participle of imminēre to overhang, equivalent to im- im-1 + -min- from a base meaning “jut out, project, rise” (cf. eminent, mount2) + -ent- -ent
Related forms
imminently, adverb
imminentness, noun
unimminent, adjective
Can be confused
eminent, immanent, imminent.
1. near, at hand. Imminent, Impending, Threatening all may carry the implication of menace, misfortune, disaster, but they do so in differing degrees. Imminent may portend evil: an imminent catastrophe, but also may mean simply “about to happen”: The merger is imminent. Impending has a weaker sense of immediacy and threat than imminent : Real tax relief legislation is impending, but it too may be used in situations portending disaster: impending social upheaval; to dread the impending investigation. Threatening almost always suggests ominous warning and menace: a threatening sky just before the tornado struck.
1. distant, remote. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for imminent
  • For all the concern expressed about the imminent demise of the college library, librarians are needed more than ever.
  • It grieves for lost influence, or fears the imminent loss of influence, and it shudders at an increasingly shabby present.
  • It was understood that flies were a transmission vector for disease, and a public-health crisis seemed imminent.
  • Newspapers were mildly concerned about falling circulation rather than in an all-out panic about imminent collapse.
  • He also discovered that its owners were in default on a federal loan and that foreclosure was imminent.
  • Still no obvious symptoms that perforation is imminent, but an oppressive feeling of foreboding hangs over me.
  • Somehow the animals also seemed to know that disaster was imminent.
  • But at their cores shrinking continues, making a supernova imminent.
  • Not even though columns of noxious gas and the nervous tracings of seismographs signal an imminent explosion.
  • But geologists point to an upsurge in seismic activity last year as a sign of an imminent eruption.
British Dictionary definitions for imminent


liable to happen soon; impending
(obsolete) jutting out or overhanging
Derived Forms
imminence, imminentness, noun
imminently, adverb
Word Origin
C16: from Latin imminēre to project over, from im- (in) + -minēre to project; related to mons mountain
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 imminent

1520s, from Middle French imminent (14c.) and directly from Latin imminentem (nominative imminens), present participle of imminere "to overhang; impend, be near, be at hand," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + minere "jut out," related to mons "hill" (see mount (n.)). Related: Imminently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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