[ im-uh-nuhnt ]
See synonyms for imminent on
  1. likely to occur at any moment; impending: Her death is imminent.

  2. projecting or leaning forward; overhanging.

Origin of imminent

First recorded in 1520–30; from Latin imminent- (stem of imminēns ), present participle of imminēre “to overhang,” equivalent to im- im-1 + -min- from a base meaning “jut out, project, rise” (cf. eminent, mount2) + -ent- -ent

synonym study For imminent

1. Imminent, Impending, Threatening all may carry the implication of menace, misfortune, disaster, but they do so in differing degrees. Imminent may portend evil: an imminent catastrophe, but also may mean simply “about to happen”: The merger is imminent. Impending has a weaker sense of immediacy and threat than imminent : Real tax relief legislation is impending, but it too may be used in situations portending disaster: impending social upheaval; to dread the impending investigation. Threatening almost always suggests ominous warning and menace: a threatening sky just before the tornado struck.

Other words for imminent

Opposites for imminent

Other words from imminent

  • im·mi·nent·ly, adverb
  • im·mi·nent·ness, noun
  • un·im·mi·nent, adjective

Words that may be confused with imminent

Words Nearby imminent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use imminent in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for imminent


/ (ˈɪmɪnənt) /

  1. liable to happen soon; impending

  2. obsolete jutting out or overhanging

Origin of imminent

C16: from Latin imminēre to project over, from im- (in) + -minēre to project; related to mons mountain

Derived forms of imminent

  • imminence or imminentness, noun
  • imminently, adverb

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