[ im-uh-nuhnt ]
/ ˈɪm ə nənt /


likely to occur at any moment; impending: Her death is imminent.
projecting or leaning forward; overhanging.

Origin of imminent

1520–30; < 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


1 near, at hand. 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.

Related forms

im·mi·nent·ly, adverbim·mi·nent·ness, nounun·im·mi·nent, adjective

Can be confused

eminent immanent imminent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for imminent

British Dictionary definitions for imminent


/ (ˈɪmɪnənt) /


liable to happen soon; impending
obsolete jutting out or overhanging

Derived Forms

imminence or imminentness, nounimminently, adverb

Word Origin for imminent

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