English

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Etymology

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From Latin imperiōsus (mighty, powerful), from imperium (command, authority, power).

Pronunciation

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Adjective

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imperious (not comparable)

  1. Domineering, arrogant, or overbearing.
    • c. 1587–1588, [Christopher Marlowe], Tamburlaine the Great. [] The First Part [], 2nd edition, part 1, London: [] [R. Robinson for] Richard Iones, [], published 1592, →OCLC; reprinted as Tamburlaine the Great (A Scolar Press Facsimile), Menston, Yorkshire, London: Scolar Press, 1973, →ISBN, Act IIII, scene i:
      The frowning lookes of fiery Tamburlaine,
      That with his terrour and imperious eies,
      Commands the hearts of his aſſociates, []
    • 1866, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, translated by C. J. Hogarth, The Gambler:
      [] she glanced about her in an imperious, challenging sort of way, with looks and gestures that clearly were unstudied.
    • 1899, Stephen Crane, The Angel Child, Whilomville Stories:
      She was quick, beautiful, imperious, while he was quiet, slow, and misty.
    • 2001, Salman Rushdie, Fury: A Novel, London: Jonathan Cape, →ISBN, page 4:
      “Hey, sir? Sir, excuse me?” The blonde was calling out to him, in imperious tones that insisted on a reply.
    • 2022 October 1, Phil McNulty, “Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham: Gunners show identity & direction in outstanding derby win”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      Saliba, meanwhile, has returned to Arsenal looking like the finished article after the 21-year-old France defender spent loan spells at Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille. He has been imperious since the opening game at Brentford, establishing a formidable partnership with Gabriel.
  2. Urgent.
    • 1891, Ambrose Bierce, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge:
      Circumstances of an imperious nature, which it is unnecessary to relate here, had prevented him from taking service with that gallant army which had fought the disastrous campaigns ending with the fall of Corinth.
  3. (obsolete) Imperial or regal.
    • 1789, Ephraim Judson, Ambassadors appointed by Christ to treat with mankind on the subject of reconciliation to God, page 7:
      All the terrors of Antichrist; his cruel ediets and anathemas that were thundered from his imperious throne, like storms of fire and brimstone []

Synonyms

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