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[im-peer-ee-uh m] /ɪmˈpɪər i əm/
noun, plural imperia
[im-peer-ee-uh] /ɪmˈpɪər i ə/ (Show IPA),
command; supreme power.
area of dominion; sphere of control or monopoly; empire.
a nation having or exerting supreme power; superpower.
Law. the right to command the force of the state in order to enforce the law.
Origin of imperium
1645-55; < Latin: supreme administrative power, authority, empire, equivalent to imper(āre) to rule (see imperative) + -ium -ium Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for imperium
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • This imperium in imperio was happily abolished by a new code of statutes which became law in 1861.

    Cambridge and its Story Charles William Stubbs
  • The Cæsar had nominated his successor to the imperium in the Circus the other day.

    "Unto Caesar" Baroness Emmuska Orczy
  • We cannot tolerate in the principality those whose aim it is to create an imperium in imperio.

    The Shadow of the Czar John R. Carling
  • Several other circumstances tended to strengthen the imperium of the church.

  • By entering Rome he gave up his imperium and could no longer ask a triumph.

    The Letters of Cicero, Volume 1 Marcus Tullius Cicero
  • Walk down to the imperium with me, Harry, and have a bit of lunch.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • In the region of politics, too, there are wheels within wheels—an imperium in imperio.

    Western Worthies J. Stephen Jeans
  • They were a band of aristocrats dwelling in a democracy, an imperium in imperio.

    American Sketches Charles Whibley
British Dictionary definitions for imperium


noun (pl) -ria (-rɪə)
(in ancient Rome) the supreme power, held esp by consuls and emperors, to command and administer in military, judicial, and civil affairs
the right to command; supreme power
a less common word for empire
Word Origin
C17: from Latin: command, empire, from imperāre to command; see emperor
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 imperium

1650s, from Latin imperium "command, supreme authority, power" (see empire).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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