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[puh-remp-tuh-ree, per-uh mp-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee] /pəˈrɛmp tə ri, ˈpɛr əmpˌtɔr i, -ˌtoʊr i/
leaving no opportunity for denial or refusal; imperative:
a peremptory command.
imperious or dictatorial.
positive or assertive in speech, tone, manner, etc.
  1. that precludes or does not admit of debate, question, etc.:
    a peremptory edict.
  2. decisive or final.
  3. in which a command is absolute and unconditional:
    a peremptory writ.
Origin of peremptory
1505-15; < Latin peremptōrius final, decisive, literally, deadly, destructive (derivative of perimere to take away fully, destroy, slay), equivalent to per- per- + em-, base of emere to buy, orig. to take + -tōrius -tory1, with intrusive p
Related forms
peremptorily, adverb
peremptoriness, noun
overperemptorily, adverb
overperemptorilyness, noun
overperemptory, adjective
unperemptorily, adverb
unperemptoriness, noun
unperemptory, adjective
Can be confused
peremptory, preemptive.
2. arbitrary, dogmatic, domineering. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for peremptory
Historical Examples
  • The sure challenges are the peremptory ones without any cause stated or reason given.

    The Man in Court Frederic DeWitt Wells
  • Morely concentrated on the man, then concentrated on a single, peremptory thought.

    Final Weapon Everett B. Cole
  • She heard Mr. Royall's voice, low and peremptory, and opened the door, fearing an accident.

    Summer Edith Wharton
  • A peremptory movement of the squire's hand stopped him, and they went in.

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Sam's sudden assertion of his authority, in terms so peremptory, took Jake completely by surprise.

    Captain Sam George Cary Eggleston
  • But, to this question, observation gives a peremptory answer.

    Creative Evolution Henri Bergson
  • The colonel brought the discussion to a close with a peremptory command.

    The Colonel's Dream Charles W. Chesnutt
  • This time, however, the summons was peremptory; the sentence was final; there was no reprieve.

    Captain Canot Brantz Mayer
  • Roy's tone was peremptory, but Dudley never moved, until the command was given in a sharper tone.

    His Big Opportunity Amy Le Feuvre
  • There was a general sensation at this, for his manner was peremptory and almost dictatorial.

    Vice Versa F. Anstey
British Dictionary definitions for peremptory


urgent or commanding: a peremptory ring on the bell
not able to be remitted or debated; decisive
positive or assured in speech, manner, etc; dogmatic
  1. admitting of no denial or contradiction; precluding debate
  2. obligatory rather than permissive
Derived Forms
peremptorily, adverb
peremptoriness, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Anglo-Norman peremptorie, from Latin peremptōrius decisive, from perimere to take away completely, from per- (intensive) + emere to take
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 peremptory

"decisive," mid-15c., legal term, from Anglo-French peremptorie, from Middle French peremtoire, from Latin peremptorius "destructive, decisive, final," from peremptor "destroyer," from perimpere "destroy, cut off," from per- "away entirely, to destruction" (see per) + emere "to take" (see exempt (adj.)). Of persons or their words, "certain, assured, brooking no debate," 1580s. Related: Peremptorily.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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