• synonyms


  1. of, relating to, or characterized by defects or weaknesses: imperfect vision.
  2. not perfect; lacking completeness: imperfect knowledge.
  3. Grammar. noting action or state still in process at some temporal point of reference, particularly in the past.
  4. Law. being without legal effect or support; unenforceable.
  5. Botany. (of a flower) diclinous.
  6. Music. of or relating to the interval of a major or minor third or sixth.Compare perfect(def 13a).
Show More
noun Grammar.
  1. the imperfect tense.
  2. another verb formation or construction with imperfect meaning.
  3. a form in the imperfect, as Latin portābam, “I was carrying.”
Show More

Origin of imperfect

1300–50; < Latin imperfectus unfinished (see im-2, perfect); replacing Middle English imparfit < Middle French imparfait < Latin, as above
Related formsim·per·fect·ly, adverbim·per·fect·ness, noun

Synonyms for imperfect

Antonyms for imperfect

2. complete, developed.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for imperfectness

Historical Examples of imperfectness

  • Thus, by their rule, the imperfectness of capitalism was revealed.

    The Positive Outcome of Philosophy

    Joseph Dietzgen

  • Words have necessarily human limitations and imperfectness, because of their purely human origin.

    The Covenant of Salt

    Henry Clay Trumbull

  • Despite the imperfectness of the record, Lever's choice was a singularly happy one.

  • With his eye fixed on the Perfect, he makes no allowance for the imperfectness of those who are struggling toward it.

    By the Christmas Fire

    Samuel McChord Crothers

British Dictionary definitions for imperfectness


  1. exhibiting or characterized by faults, mistakes, etc; defective
  2. not complete or finished; deficient
  3. botany
    1. (of flowers) lacking functional stamens or pistils
    2. (of fungi) not undergoing sexual reproduction
  4. grammar denoting a tense of verbs used most commonly in describing continuous or repeated past actions or events, as for example was walking as opposed to walked
  5. law (of a trust, an obligation, etc) lacking some necessary formality to make effective or binding; incomplete; legally unenforceableSee also executory (def. 1)
  6. music
    1. (of a cadence) proceeding to the dominant from the tonic, subdominant, or any chord other than the dominant
    2. of or relating to all intervals other than the fourth, fifth, and octaveCompare perfect (def. 9)
Show More
  1. grammar
    1. the imperfect tense
    2. a verb in this tense
Show More
Derived Formsimperfectly, adverbimperfectness, noun
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 imperfectness



mid-14c., imperfite, from Old French imparfait, from Latin imperfectus "unfinished, incomplete," from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + perfectus (see perfect). Replaced mid-16c. by the Latin form. Related: Imperfectly.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper