• synonyms


[puh-remp-tuh-ree, per-uhmp-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee]
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  1. leaving no opportunity for denial or refusal; imperative: a peremptory command.
  2. imperious or dictatorial.
  3. positive or assertive in speech, tone, manner, etc.
  4. Law.
    1. that precludes or does not admit of debate, question, etc.: a peremptory edict.
    2. decisive or final.
    3. in which a command is absolute and unconditional: a peremptory writ.
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Origin of peremptory

1505–15; < Latin peremptōrius final, decisive, literally, deadly, destructive (derivative of perimere to take away fully, destroy, slay), equivalent to per- per- + em-, base of emere to buy, orig. to take + -tōrius -tory1, with intrusive p
Related formsper·emp·to·ri·ly, adverbper·emp·to·ri·ness, nouno·ver·per·emp·to·ri·ly, adverbo·ver·per·emp·to·ri·ly·ness, nouno·ver·per·emp·to·ry, adjectiveun·per·emp·to·ri·ly, adverbun·per·emp·to·ri·ness, nounun·per·emp·to·ry, adjective
Can be confusedperemptory preemptive

Synonyms for peremptory

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

Examples from the Web for peremptory

Historical Examples of peremptory

  • He tried to evade immediate payment, but on this point his creditor was peremptory.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • A peremptory order from de Naarboveck had caused Wilhelmine to descend.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • It is the peremptory military spirit which prevails in the government of honour.

  • He was so peremptory that Andre-Louis turned to look at him.


    Rafael Sabatini

  • Thorpe hailed him, with a peremptory tone, and gave the brusque order, "Strand!"

    The Market-Place

    Harold Frederic

British Dictionary definitions for peremptory


  1. urgent or commandinga peremptory ring on the bell
  2. not able to be remitted or debated; decisive
  3. positive or assured in speech, manner, etc; dogmatic
  4. law
    1. admitting of no denial or contradiction; precluding debate
    2. obligatory rather than permissive
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Derived Formsperemptorily, adverbperemptoriness, noun

Word Origin for peremptory

C16: from Anglo-Norman peremptorie, from Latin peremptōrius decisive, from perimere to take away completely, from per- (intensive) + emere to take
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 peremptory


"decisive," mid-15c., legal term, from Anglo-French peremptorie, from Middle French peremtoire, from Latin peremptorius "destructive, decisive, final," from peremptor "destroyer," from perimpere "destroy, cut off," from per- "away entirely, to destruction" (see per) + emere "to take" (see exempt (adj.)). Of persons or their words, "certain, assured, brooking no debate," 1580s. Related: Peremptorily.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper