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  1. domineering in a haughty manner; dictatorial; overbearing: an imperious manner; an imperious person.
  2. urgent; imperative: imperious need.

Origin of imperious

1535–45; < Latin imperiōsus commanding, tyrannical, equivalent to imperi(um) imperium + -ōsus -ous
Related formsim·pe·ri·ous·ly, adverbim·pe·ri·ous·ness, nounnon·im·pe·ri·ous, adjectivenon·im·pe·ri·ous·ly, adverbnon·im·pe·ri·ous·ness, nounun·im·pe·ri·ous, adjectiveun·im·pe·ri·ous·ly, adverb
Can be confusedimperative imperial imperious

Synonyms for imperious

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Antonyms for imperious Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for imperious

Contemporary Examples of imperious

Historical Examples of imperious

  • He had acted "in obedience to the clear and imperious call of public obligation."

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • He, with an imperious air, bid me deserve his love, and I should be sure to have it.

    Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)

    Samuel Richardson

  • Her voice cut fiercely into the quiet of the room, imperious, savage.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • It filled his heart with delight to play with the fierce, imperious animal he rode.


    W. A. Fraser

  • She was just as colossally commanding as ever, just as imperious.

British Dictionary definitions for imperious


  1. domineering; arrogant; overbearing
  2. rare urgent; imperative
Derived Formsimperiously, adverbimperiousness, noun

Word Origin for imperious

C16: from Latin imperiōsus from imperium command, power
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 imperious

1540s, from Latin imperiosus "commanding, mighty, powerful," from imperium "empire, command" (see empire). Related: Imperiously.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper