[ im-puh-rah-ter, -rah-tawr, -rey-ter ]
/ ˌɪm pəˈrɑ tər, -ˈrɑ tɔr, -ˈreɪ tər /


an absolute or supreme ruler.
(in Imperial Rome) emperor.
(in Republican Rome) a temporary title accorded a victorious general.

Origin of imperator

1570–80; < Latin imperātor; see emperor
Related formsim·per·a·to·ri·al [im-per-uh-tawr-ee-uh l, -tohr-] /ɪmˌpɛr əˈtɔr i əl, -ˈtoʊr-/, adjectiveim·per·a·to·ri·al·ly, adverbim·pe·ra·tor·ship, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for imperator

British Dictionary definitions for imperator


/ (ˌɪmpəˈrɑːtɔː) /


  1. (in imperial Rome) a title of the emperor
  2. (in republican Rome) a temporary title of honour bestowed upon a victorious general
a less common word for emperor
Derived Formsimperatorial (ɪmˌpɛrəˈtɔːrɪəl), adjectiveimperatorially, adverbimperatorship, noun

Word Origin for imperator

C16: from Latin: commander, from imperāre to command
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 imperator



"commander-in-chief," Latin agent noun from stem of imperare "to command" (see imperative). In the Roman republic, a commander; in the Roman Empire, the emperor.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper