Word of the Day

Thursday, June 28, 2001


\puh-REMP-tuh-ree\ , adjective;
Precluding or putting an end to all debate or action.
Not allowing contradiction or refusal; absolute; decisive; conclusive; final.
Expressive of urgency or command.
Offensively self-assured or given to exercising usually unwarranted power; dictatorial; dogmatic.
He would dismiss the whole business . . . with a peremptory snort.
-- R.M. Berry, Leonardo's Horse
When she meets with his angry and peremptory refusal, Lucy travels to his country estate; but, entering the woods that surround it, she finds that Charles has defended himself from just such unwanted visits by girding the estate with a number of steel traps.
-- Henry Alford, "Slaves of the Hamptons", New York Times, August 8, 1999
Peremptory letters from faceless financiers.
-- George F. Will, Bunts
And we're provided with mini-narratives familiar even to those with only a passing knowledge of Russian history: the woman who stands day after day outside the political prison in the frigid cold, hoping to catch a glimpse of her husband; the collisions with the imperious and peremptory bureaucrats.
-- Jim Shepard, "Dead Souls", New York Times, September 26, 1999
The voice that came over the wire was full of grovel and Hollywood subjunctives. It was a voice trained to cut through the din of nightclubs and theater rehearsals, a flexible instrument that could shift from adulation to abuse in a single syllable, ingratiating yet peremptory, a rich syrup of unction and specious authority.
-- Sidney Joseph Perelman, quoted in the New York Times, March 15, 1981
Peremptory comes from Latin peremptorius, "destructive," from peremptus, past participle of perimere, "to take thoroughly, to do away with, to destroy; hence, to thwart, to frustrate," from per-, "thoroughly" + emere, "to take, to obtain."
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