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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 imperiously

Historical Examples of imperiously

  • She looked at him imperiously and considered her words before speaking.

  • I mentally ran over the list of demands which were pressing me the most imperiously.

    The Golden Age

    Kenneth Grahame

  • Meno imperiously insists that he must still have a definition of colour.



  • But I waved them imperiously back, and mounted the stairs alone.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • "Which necessity thrusts upon you," she broke in imperiously.

    St. Martin's Summer

    Rafael Sabatini

British Dictionary definitions for imperiously


  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 imperiously



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper