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.
The Latin word imperator referred not only to a civilian ruler who interpreted and carried out the law but also to a victorious commander of one or more Roman legions.
He chafed against the implication of coercion in the word imperator: “We could more truly have been titled a protectorate than an empire of the world.”
Anyone who cannot understand what rex imperator is saying and trying to point out needs to consider (if they are a police officer) whether they are suitable to continue in the office of constable on February 10, 2009 at 1: 04 pm | Reply Von Spreuth
It was the measure of his success, perhaps, that the word imperator "general" used during his reign should have evolved to mean something much more - our word "emperor".
In Latin, imperator means commander but it was a special title of honor, symbolizing the bond between a winning general and his men.
Emilius when the senate elected him imperator, that is, chief of the army which they sent against Perses, King of Macedon.
Those who are imperatores in the limited sense use the appellation once, as they do others, and indeed before others: whatever rulers in addition accomplish in war any deed worthy of it acquire also the name handed down by ancient custom, so that a man is termed imperator a second and a third time, and oftener, as frequently as he can bestow it upon himself.
Dio's Rome, Volume 2 An Historical Narrative Originally Composed in Greek During the Reigns of Septimius Severus, Geta and Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus and Alexander Severus; and Now Presented in English Form. Second Volume Extant Books 36-44 (B.C. 69-44).
To all these examples might be added what happened to L. Paulus Emilius when the senate elected him imperator, that is, chief of the army which they sent against Perses, King of Macedon.
Dr. Simon says, "The major problem with the Beta III is its long thin 'imperator' shape, in contrast to the short broad roots grown everywhere else in the world but in the U.S.A."
Three points of the utmost significance demand attention in this, a typical deliverance of the "imperator," uttered at the flood-tide of imperial success: two of them, both negative, are ominous; the third is positive and plain.