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[im-peer-ee-uh s] /ɪmˈpɪər i əs/
domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing:
an imperious manner; an imperious person.
urgent; imperative:
imperious need.
Origin of imperious
1535-45; < Latin imperiōsus commanding, tyrannical, equivalent to imperi(um) imperium + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
imperiously, adverb
imperiousness, noun
nonimperious, adjective
nonimperiously, adverb
nonimperiousness, noun
unimperious, adjective
unimperiously, adverb
Can be confused
imperative, imperial, imperious.
1. tyrannical, despotic, arrogant. 2. necessary.
1. submissive. 2. unnecessary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for imperious
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "You must come with me at once," he said in an imperious way.

    The King's Mirror Anthony Hope
  • He, with an imperious air, bid me deserve his love, and I should be sure to have it.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9) Samuel Richardson
  • He was beginning to wonder why he had been invited—nay, almost commanded—to come, by an imperious little note.

    With Edged Tools Henry Seton Merriman
  • He had acted "in obedience to the clear and imperious call of public obligation."

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • There was little sympathy between the haughty, imperious Josephine and her mild, unobtrusive sister.

    City Crimes Greenhorn
  • It filled his heart with delight to play with the fierce, imperious animal he rode.

    Thoroughbreds W. A. Fraser
British Dictionary definitions for imperious


domineering; arrogant; overbearing
(rare) urgent; imperative
Derived Forms
imperiously, adverb
imperiousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin imperiōsus from imperium command, power
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 imperious

1540s, from Latin imperiosus "commanding, mighty, powerful," from imperium "empire, command" (see empire). Related: Imperiously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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