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90s Slang You Should Know


[im-per-uh-tiv] /ɪmˈpɛr ə tɪv/
absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable:
It is imperative that we leave.
of the nature of or expressing a command; commanding.
Grammar. noting or pertaining to the mood of the verb used in commands, requests, etc., as in Listen! Go!
Compare indicative (def 2), subjunctive (def 1).
a command.
something that demands attention or action; an unavoidable obligation or requirement; necessity:
It is an imperative that we help defend friendly nations.
  1. the imperative mood.
  2. a verb in this mood.
an obligatory statement, principle, or the like.
Origin of imperative
1520-30; < Late Latin imperātivus, equivalent to Latin imperāt(us) past participle of imperāre to impose, order, command (im- im-1 + -per- (combining form of parāre to fur-nish (with), produce, obtain, prepare) + -ātus -ate1) + -īvus -ive
Related forms
imperatively, adverb
imperativeness, noun
nonimperative, adjective
nonimperatively, adverb
nonimperativeness, noun
unimperative, adjective
unimperatively, adverb
Can be confused
imperative, imperial, imperious.
1. inescapable; indispensable, essential; exigent, compelling. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for imperatively
Historical Examples
  • The surgeons put off amputating the leg, he was so exhausted, but at last it was imperatively necessary to amputate.

    The Wound Dresser Walt Whitman
  • Now, herr,” he said imperatively: “put your arms round my neck.

    The Crystal Hunters George Manville Fenn
  • Accordingly, though physically unfitted for coition with men, he is imperatively drawn towards them by a natural impulse.

    A Problem in Modern Ethics John Addington Symonds
  • We imperatively require a perception of, and a homage to beauty in our companions.

    Essays, Second Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • There was an aside when the newcomer said imperatively to a club attendant, "We'll have some light here, please!"

    The Heart of Rachael Kathleen Norris
  • It existed in America and was imperatively demanded in Europe.

    Herbert Hoover Vernon Kellogg
  • It is the adherence to certain practices—rites and ceremonies—that Hinduism imperatively demands.

    India and the Indians Edward F. Elwin
  • "One moment, please," broke in the little general, imperatively.

    A Little Traitor to the South Cyrus Townsend Brady
  • Emily could have forgiven him the want of the former, but the latter was imperatively demanded.

  • "Tell me what novels you have read," she broke in upon him imperatively.

    Imaginary Interviews W. D. Howells
British Dictionary definitions for imperatively


extremely urgent or important; essential
peremptory or authoritative: an imperative tone of voice
(grammar) Also imperatival (ɪmˌpɛrəˈtaɪvəl). denoting a mood of verbs used in giving orders, making requests, etc. In English the verb root without any inflections is the usual form, as for example leave in Leave me alone
something that is urgent or essential
an order or command
  1. the imperative mood
  2. a verb in this mood
Derived Forms
imperatively, adverb
imperativeness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Late Latin imperātīvus, from Latin imperāre to command
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 imperatively



1520s, from Late Latin imperativus "pertaining to a command," from imperatus "commanded," past participle of imperare "to command, to requisition," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + parare "prepare" (see pare).


mid-15c., in grammar; later "something imperative" (c.1600), from Old French imperatif and directly from Late Latin imperativus (see imperative (adj.)).



mid-15c., in grammar; later "something imperative" (c.1600), from Old French imperatif and directly from Late Latin imperativus (see imperative (adj.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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imperatively in Culture

imperative definition

A grammatical category describing verbs that command or request: “Leave town by tonight”; “Please hand me the spoon.”

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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