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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 imperiousness
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • There was an imperiousness in the lawyer's tone which was almost irresistible.

    Cousin Henry

    Anthony Trollope
  • A life of indolence and luxury had bred a certain air of imperiousness in her.

    Colorado Jim

    George Goodchild
  • And her eyes searched his with a certain boldness and imperiousness of gaze.

  • I may, perhaps, be producing an unfair impression of imperiousness and insolence.

    Pioneers of Science Oliver Lodge
  • By the imperiousness of her gesture and her uplifted head she swept them out before her.

    The Dust Flower Basil King
  • But that sense of imperiousness was quickly dispelled by the enchantment of her presence.

  • And she seized Raphael's arm in the imperiousness of her passion.

    Hypatia Charles Kingsley
  • She was paying the penalty of her own wilfulness and her own imperiousness.

    The Squire's Daughter Silas K(itto) Hocking
British Dictionary definitions for imperiousness


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 imperiousness



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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