See also: preemptory





From Anglo-Norman peremptorie, parentorie et al. (Modern French péremptoire), and its source, Latin peremptōrius (deadly; precluding debate, decisive), from perimō (destroy, thwart), from per- (thorough) + emō (I obtain, buy).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /pəˈɹɛmptəɹi/
  • Audio (US):(file)



peremptory (comparative more peremptory, superlative most peremptory)

  1. (law) Precluding debate or expostulation; not admitting of question or appeal
    Synonyms: positive, absolute, decisive, conclusive, final
    • 1596, Francis Bacon, Maxims of the Law, section II:
      there is no reason but if any of the outlawries be indeed without error, but it should be a peremptory plea to the person in a writ of error, as well as in any other action.
  2. (law) (of a date or deadline) Absolutely requiring compliance or attendance; brooking no further delay; to proceed whether a party attends or not; final.
    As this trial has now been postponed multiple times, there will be an adjournment to April 24, peremptory on the parties.
  3. Positive in opinion or judgment; absolutely certain, overconfident, unwilling to hear any debate or argument (especially in a pejorative sense); dogmatic.
    • 2003, Andrew Marr, The Guardian, 6 Jan 03:
      He marched under a placard reading "End Bossiness Now" but decided it was a little too peremptory, not quite British, so changed the slogan on subsequent badges, to "End Bossiness Soon."
  4. (obsolete) Firmly determined, resolute; obstinate, stubborn.
  5. Accepting no refusal or disagreement; imperious, dictatorial.
    • 1891, Oscar Wilde, The Soul of Man Under Socialism:
      Upon the other hand, there are a great many people who, having no private property of their own, and being always on the brink of sheer starvation, are compelled to do the work of beasts of burden, to do work that is quite uncongenial to them, and to which they are forced by the peremptory, unreasonable, degrading Tyranny of want.
    • 1925, F[rancis] Scott Fitzgerald, chapter 1, in The Great Gatsby, New York, N.Y.: Charles Scribner’s Sons, published 1953, →ISBN, →OCLC:
      [] less surprising than that he had been depressed by a book. Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart.
    • 1999 January 2, Anthony Howard, The Guardian, section 99:
      Though today (surveying that yellowing document) I shudder at the peremptory tone of the instructions I gave, Alastair - in that same volume in which I get chastised for my coverage of the Macmillan rally - was generous enough to remark that my memorandum became 'an office classic'.

Derived terms



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peremptory (plural peremptories)

  1. (law) A challenge to the admission of a juror, without the challenger needing to show good cause.
    • 2015 June 18, Justice Alito, Davis v. Ayala, Case No. 13-1428:
      Each side was allowed 20 peremptories, and the prosecution used 18 of its allotment.

Further reading