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[imp] /ɪmp/
a little devil or demon; an evil spirit.
a mischievous child.
Archaic. a scion or offshoot of a plant or tree.
Archaic. an offspring.
verb (used with object)
  1. to graft (feathers) into a wing.
  2. to furnish (a wing, tail, etc.) with feathers, as to make good losses or deficiencies and improve powers of flight.
Archaic. to add a piece to; mend or repair.
Origin of imp
before 900; (noun) Middle English impe, Old English impa, impe shoot, graft < Late Latin impotus, imputus grafted shoot < Greek émphytos planted, implanted, verbal adjective of emphŷein to implant (em- em-2 + phŷein to bring forth); (v.) Middle English impen to plant, graft, Old English impian, geimpian, derivative of the noun (compare Old High German impfōn, impitōn > German impfen to inoculate); sense “demon” < phrase imp of the devil
2. scamp, rascal, brat, devil. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for imped
Historical Examples
  • If there has been a broken feather, the damaged hawk must be imped.

  • This is when the broken feather is to be imped merely for the purpose of the moult.

  • When only the tip of a wing feather is gone it would of course be only for the sake of appearances that it would be imped.

  • I have joined the wing, father, and I have imped the feathers; but I fear it will be Christmas ere she can fly again.

    Sir Nigel Arthur Conan Doyle
British Dictionary definitions for imped


a small demon or devil; mischievous sprite
a mischievous child
(transitive) (falconry) to insert (new feathers) into the stumps of broken feathers in order to repair the wing of a hawk or falcon
Word Origin
Old English impa bud, graft, hence offspring, child, from impian to graft, ultimately from Greek emphutos implanted, from emphuein to implant, from phuein to plant
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 imped



Old English impe, impa "young shoot, graft," from impian "to graft," probably an early West Germanic borrowing from Vulgar Latin *imptus, from Late Latin impotus "implanted," from Greek emphytos, verbal adjective formed from emphyein "implant," from em- "in" + phyein "to plant" (see physic).

Sense of "child, offspring" (late 14c.) came from transfer of word from plants to people, with notion of "newness" preserved. Modern meaning "little devil" (1580s) is from common use in pejorative phrases like imp of Satan.

Suche appereth as aungelles, but in very dede they be ymps of serpentes. ["The Pilgrimage of Perfection," 1526]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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