Imminent, Immanent, Or Eminent?

When something is imminent, that means it’s impending. Immanent isn’t a typo, it means inherent. Eminent means distinguished.


Imminent means likely to occur at any moment or impending. It refers to something that’s approaching, about to happen, anticipated, or threatening to occur. For example, in Coquette, author Frank Swinnerton uses the word to describe someone’s arrival: “While she was waiting, she one day received a letter from Toby, announcing his imminent arrival in London.” Here, imminent means that Toby’s arrival to London is about to happen.


Immanent means remaining within or inherent. It’s often used in philosophical and spiritual contexts. In When Winter Comes to Main Street, Grant Martin Overton writes, “And yet, for some, reality is not immanent in the affairs of this world but only in those of the next.”


Eminent means high in station, rank, or repute. It also means prominent, or distinguished. It can describe a person, place, or thing. For example, the president of the United States can be described as “an eminent world figure.” One may also say “The White House is eminent,” meaning that it’s a prominent and highly ranked symbol of the United States. Plato uses the word in Euthydemus to describe a group of distinguished professors: “And these, as I was telling you, are supposed to be the most eminent professors of their time.”

Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is a legal term that refers to the power to take private property for public use. Federal, state, and local governments can use this power. For example, a state government may issue an eminent domain law to gain access to a private field and convert it into a public park.

Sign up for our Newsletter!
Start your day with weird words, fun quizzes, and language stories.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

The Dictionary Is More Than The Word Of The Day

Enter your email for quizzes, quotes, and word facts in your inbox every day.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.