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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
From the Medieval Latin word immemoriālis, dating back to 1595-1605. See im-2, memorial
Related forms
immemorially, adverb
timeless, ancient, ageless, olden. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for immemorial
Historical Examples
  • Wat's thumb was raised to his nose in an immemorial gesture.

    Slaves of Mercury Nat Schachner
  • War, of course, is an immemorial source of romantic feeling.

    The American Mind Bliss Perry
  • They are not thought to be inspired, but are revered because of their immemorial antiquity.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies
  • If the Gulf States go, still it is their right, immemorial, incontrovertible!

    The Long Roll Mary Johnston
  • The human mind from immemorial antiquity has ceased to regard it.

  • Philosophers as well as immemorial kings, Pharaohs and Ptolemys, are on our side.

    The Library Andrew Lang
  • Truth and mercy are immemorial characteristics of a king's conduct.

  • "Eat your oatmeal," said Mis' Winslow, in the immemorial manner of adults.

    Christmas Zona Gale
  • The hump is an immemorial sign of the French badin-ès-farces.


    William Graham Sumner
  • He is the living Word; in Him was personified what had been immemorial tradition.

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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