[ im-peer-ee-uhl ]
See synonyms for: imperialimperials on

  1. of, like, or pertaining to an empire.

  2. of, like, or pertaining to an emperor or empress.

  1. characterizing the rule or authority of a sovereign state over its dependencies.

  2. of the nature or rank of an emperor or supreme ruler.

  3. of a commanding quality, manner, aspect, etc.

  4. befitting an emperor or empress; regal; majestic; grand.

  5. of special or superior size or quality, as various products and commodities.

  6. (of weights and measures) conforming to the standards legally established in Great Britain.

  1. a size of printing or drawing paper, 22 × 30 inches (56 × 76 centimeters) in England, 23 × 33 inches (58 × 84 centimeters) in the United States.

  2. imperial octavo, a size of book, about 8¼ × 11½ inches (21 × 29 centimeters), untrimmed, in the United States, and 7½ × 11 inches (19 × 28 centimeters), untrimmed, in England. Abbreviation: imperial 8vo

  1. imperial quarto, Chiefly British. a size of book, about 11 × 15 inches (28 × 38 centimeters), untrimmed. Abbreviation: imperial 4to

  2. the top of a carriage, especially of a diligence.

  3. a case for luggage carried there.

  4. a member of an imperial party or of imperial troops.

  5. an emperor or empress.

  6. any of various articles of special size or quality.

  7. an oversized bottle used especially for storing Bordeaux wine, equivalent to 8 regular bottles or 6 liters (6.6 quarts).

Origin of imperial

First recorded in 1325–75; Middle English, from Late Latin imperiālis, equivalent to Latin imperi(um) “supreme authority, rule, empire” + -ālis adjective suffix; replacing Middle English emperial, from Middle French, from Late Latin, as above; see origin at imperium, -al1

Other words for imperial

Other words from imperial

  • im·pe·ri·al·ly, adverb
  • im·pe·ri·al·ness, noun

Words that may be confused with imperial

Words Nearby imperial

Other definitions for imperial (2 of 3)

[ im-peer-ee-uhl ]

  1. a small, pointed beard beneath the lower lip.

Origin of imperial

First recorded in 1835–45; from French impériale, noun use of feminine of impérial; see imperial1

Other definitions for imperial (3 of 3)

[ im-peer-ee-uhl ]

  1. a Russian gold coin originally worth 10 rubles and from 1897 to 1917 worth 15 rubles.

Origin of imperial

First recorded in 1760–70; from Russian imperiál, ultimately from Medieval Latin imperiālis a coin, noun use of Late Latin imperiālis; see imperial1 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use imperial in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for imperial (1 of 2)


/ (ɪmˈpɪərɪəl) /

  1. of or relating to an empire, emperor, or empress

  2. characteristic of or befitting an emperor; majestic; commanding

  1. characteristic of or exercising supreme authority; imperious

  2. (esp of products and commodities) of a superior size or quality

  3. (usually prenominal) (of weights, measures, etc) conforming to standards or definitions legally established in Britain: an imperial gallon

  1. any of various book sizes, esp 7 1/2 by 11 inches (imperial octavo) or (chiefly Brit) 11 by 15 inches (imperial quarto)

  2. a size of writing or printing paper, 23 by 31 inches (US and Canadian) or 22 by 30 inches (Brit)

  1. (formerly) a Russian gold coin originally worth ten roubles

  2. US

    • the top of a carriage, such as a diligence

    • a luggage case carried there

  3. architect a dome that has a point at the top

  4. a small tufted beard popularized by the emperor Napoleon III

  5. a member of an imperial family, esp an emperor or empress

  6. a red deer having antlers with fourteen points

Origin of imperial

C14: from Late Latin imperiālis, from Latin imperium command, authority, empire

Derived forms of imperial

  • imperially, adverb
  • imperialness, noun

British Dictionary definitions for Imperial (2 of 2)


/ (ɪmˈpɪərɪəl) /

  1. (sometimes not capital) of or relating to a specified empire, such as the British Empire

  1. a supporter or soldier of the Holy Roman Empire

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