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[im-peer-ee-uh s] /ɪmˈpɪər i əs/
domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing:
an imperious manner; an imperious person.
urgent; imperative:
imperious need.
Origin of imperious
1535-45; < Latin imperiōsus commanding, tyrannical, equivalent to imperi(um) imperium + -ōsus -ous
Related forms
imperiously, adverb
imperiousness, noun
nonimperious, adjective
nonimperiously, adverb
nonimperiousness, noun
unimperious, adjective
unimperiously, adverb
Can be confused
imperative, imperial, imperious.
1. tyrannical, despotic, arrogant. 2. necessary.
1. submissive. 2. unnecessary. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for imperiously
Historical Examples
  • She looked at him imperiously and considered her words before speaking.

    The Education of Eric Lane Stephen McKenna
  • I mentally ran over the list of demands which were pressing me the most imperiously.

    The Golden Age Kenneth Grahame
  • Meno imperiously insists that he must still have a definition of colour.

    Meno Plato
  • But I waved them imperiously back, and mounted the stairs alone.

    The Shame of Motley Raphael Sabatini
  • "Which necessity thrusts upon you," she broke in imperiously.

    St. Martin's Summer Rafael Sabatini
  • In a moment, however, she stood up and imperiously waved him aside.

    The Golden Woman Ridgwell Cullum
  • His eyes changed, and imperiously he gave an order to his assistants.

    The Affair of the Brains Anthony Gilmore
  • "You should tell Mr. Cashel who this man is," said she, imperiously.

    Roland Cashel Charles James Lever
  • Godfrey imperiously ordered them away; they all obeyed but Catty.

  • "I speak not of that, sir; and you know it," cried Fagan, imperiously.

    Sir Jasper Carew Charles James Lever
British Dictionary definitions for imperiously


domineering; arrogant; overbearing
(rare) urgent; imperative
Derived Forms
imperiously, adverb
imperiousness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin imperiōsus from imperium command, power
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 imperiously



1540s, from Latin imperiosus "commanding, mighty, powerful," from imperium "empire, command" (see empire). Related: Imperiously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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