Definitions

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

  • adj. Arrogantly domineering or overbearing. See Synonyms at dictatorial.
  • adj. Urgent; pressing.
  • adj. Obsolete Regal; imperial.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Domineering, arrogant, or overbearing.
  • adj. Urgent.
  • adj. Imperial or regal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Commanding; ascendant; imperial; lordly; majestic.
  • adj. Haughty; arrogant; overbearing
  • adj. Imperative; urgent; compelling.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • l. Imperial.
  • Of a domineering character or quality; dictatorial; overbearing: as, an imperious tyrant or temper.
  • Of an urgent or pressing nature; overmastering; compulsory; imperative: as, imperious circumstances; an imperious necessity.
  • Synonyms Authoritative, Dogmatic, etc. (see magisterial), tyrannical, despotic, wilful, determined.
  • 2 and
  • 3. Im. perious, Imperative. Imperious applies to the spirit or manner of the person ruling or giving a command, and of rule in general; imperative, to the nature of a command. An imperious person is determined to have his will obeyed; imperious rule is characterized by the haughty, overbearing, and determined nature of the ruler. An imperative command is absolute, express, peremptory, and not to be questioned or evaded. Imperative is not properly applicable to persons.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. having or showing arrogant superiority to and disdain of those one views as unworthy

Etymologies

From Latin imperiōsus, from imperium, imperium; see empire.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin imperiōsus ("mighty, powerful"), from imperium ("command, authority, power") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Mrs. Prendergast looked across at Eva, her expression imperious.

    Winter Bloom

  • She was again imperious, ran the dicussions like a martinet, bristled when one Smith student said she hadn't read the books, but had seen the MP movie.

    Never Be Cross or Cruel

  • Throughout his time at the company, its stock remained stagnant under what was described as his imperious leadership and "deficient strategy, operations, capital allocation, and governance."

    Leo W. Gerard: The Three TNT Truck Drivers and Bush's War on Labor

  • Such a look is best described as imperious, although one less reserved than I but perhaps more potently metaphorical would say that she simply looked a hole through you, seeing beyond you as if you were not there at all.

    From the Housetops

  • He chuckled and grinned with a fierce, savage sense of humour, while he recalled the imperious manner in which Mr. Ryfe had taken the initiative in their joint proceedings; as if they originated in his own invention, were ordered solely for his own convenience; and the tone of authority in which that gentleman had warned him not to be late.

    M. or N. "Similia similibus curantur."

  • John Luther (Idris Elba aka the imperious Stringer Bell from The Wire) knows the identity of the killer from the beginning - he just has to prove it.

    Telegraph.co.uk: news, business, sport, the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Sunday Telegraph

  • Jagger became unbearable over the years and reveals he also calls the imperious lead singer

    canada.com Top Stories

  • - Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards says in his new autobiography that Mick Jagger became unbearable over the years and reveals he also calls the imperious lead singer "Your Majesty" and "Brenda."

    Reuters: Top News

  • Our citizens should be free to express their political views without expecting Congress to act as a kind of imperious censor or arbiter of what is acceptable, intelligent or in good taste.

    Udall Introduces Resolution Condemning Rush

  • At few points in U.S. history, prior to the end of the Cold War, have we adopted the kind of imperious attitude toward other nations that has characterized our international relations in the 21st century.

    Gary Hart: Letter to Democrats on U.S.-Russia Relationship

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