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
Related formsim·mi·nent·ly, adverbim·mi·nent·ness, nounun·im·mi·nent, adjective
Can be confusedeminent immanent imminent

Synonyms for imminent

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.

Antonyms for imminent Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for imminent

Contemporary Examples of imminent

Historical Examples of imminent

  • From the very beginning of the session their overthrow was imminent.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • The country doctor had come, too, finding Tillie's trial not imminent.


    Mary Roberts Rinehart

  • With great difficulty and imminent danger he succeeded in reaching her.

  • Within the bounds of possibility, their turn to stumble might now be imminent.

    The Black Bag

    Louis Joseph Vance

  • For a moment they were tense with the tenseness of imminent death.

    Pirates of the Gorm

    Nat Schachner

British Dictionary definitions for imminent



liable to happen soon; impending
obsolete jutting out or overhanging
Derived Formsimminence 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

Word Origin and History for imminent

1520s, from Middle French imminent (14c.) and directly from Latin imminentem (nominative imminens), present participle of imminere "to overhang; impend, be near, be at hand," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + minere "jut out," related to mons "hill" (see mount (n.)). Related: Imminently.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper