Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An army commander in the Roman Republic.
  • n. The supreme power of the Roman emperor.
  • n. The head of state and supreme commander in the Roman Empire, in whose name all victories were won.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A commander; a leader; an emperor; -- originally an appellation of honor by which Roman soldiers saluted their general after an important victory. Subsequently the title was conferred as a recognition of great military achievements by the senate, whence it carried wiht it some special privileges. After the downfall of the Republic it was assumed by Augustus and his successors, and came to have the meaning now attached to the word emperor.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In Roman history:
  • n. In general, a commander, chief, or ruler: in this sense a descriptive title (placed after the name) of any one possessing the imperium or power of enforcing his authority, as a general, or a consul, proconsul, or other magistrate.
  • n. In later times, more especially, a general-in-chief or holder of an independent command during active service: a title often conferred by the senate on a victorious general, or acclaimed by his army.
  • n. After the fall of the republic, the official title (used as a prenomen) of the monarch or supreme ruler as permanent generalissimo of the Roman armies; emperor: originally conferred by the senate for a term, and afterward assumed in perpetuity.
  • n. [capitalized] In zoology, a genus of trochiform prosobranchiate gastropods, of the family Turbinidæ. Montfort.

Etymologies

Latin imperātōr; see emperor.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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  • From "C. Musonius Rufus" by Guy Davenport

    January 19, 2010