[ imp ]
/ ɪmp /


a little devil or demon; an evil spirit.
a mischievous child.
Archaic. a scion or offshoot of a plant or tree.
Archaic. an offspring.

verb (used with object)

  1. to graft (feathers) into a wing.
  2. to furnish (a wing, tail, etc.) with feathers, as to make good losses or deficiencies and improve powers of flight.
Archaic. to add a piece to; mend or repair.



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Origin of imp

before 900; (noun) Middle English impe, Old English impa, impe shoot, graft < Late Latin impotus, imputus grafted shoot < Greek émphytos planted, implanted, verbal adjective of emphŷein to implant (em- em-2 + phŷein to bring forth); (v.) Middle English impen to plant, graft, Old English impian, geimpian, derivative of the noun (compare Old High German impfōn, impitōn > German impfen to inoculate); sense “demon” < phrase imp of the devil

SYNONYMS FOR imp Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for imped

  • If there has been a broken feather, the damaged hawk must be imped.

  • I have joined the wing, father, and I have imped the feathers; but I fear it will be Christmas ere she can fly again.

    Sir Nigel|Arthur Conan Doyle
  • When only the tip of a wing feather is gone it would of course be only for the sake of appearances that it would be imped.

  • This is when the broken feather is to be imped merely for the purpose of the moult.

British Dictionary definitions for imped

/ (ɪmp) /


a small demon or devil; mischievous sprite
a mischievous child


(tr) falconry to insert (new feathers) into the stumps of broken feathers in order to repair the wing of a hawk or falcon

Word Origin for imp

Old English impa bud, graft, hence offspring, child, from impian to graft, ultimately from Greek emphutos implanted, from emphuein to implant, from phuein to plant
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