from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Absolute rule; supreme power.
- n. A sphere of power or dominion; an empire.
- n. Law The right or power of a state to enforce the law.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. Supreme power; dominion.
- n. The right to command the force of the state, sovereignty.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. Supreme power; absolute dominion; empire.
- n. The right to command, which includes the right to employ the force of the state to enforce the laws. It is one of the principal attributes of the executive power.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. In Roman antiquity, a military chief command; specifically, the authority to command the national military forces, conferred by a special law upon a general or upon the governor of a province. See imperator.
- n. Empire; an empire
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. supreme authority; absolute dominion
- n. the domain ruled by an emperor or empress; the region over which imperial dominion is exercised
Whenever I picture the word imperium it is always Pompey who comes into my mind—Pompey that night, hovering over his map of the Mediterranean, distributing dominion over land and sea as casually as he dispensed his wine “Marcellinus, you can have the Libyan sea, while you, Torquatus, shall have eastern Spain…”, and Pompey the following morning, when he went down into the Forum to claim his prize.
Imperialism, on the other hand, comes from the Latin term imperium, meaning to command.
If this era of reluctant imperium is to leave a lasting global mark, we must know what we are up to; we must have a sense that supremacy is bent toward a purpose and is not simply an end in itself.
But what I would venture to say is that the term "Empire", like many another term in our language, whatever its original derivation may be, (and Empire is from the Latin word "imperium") has been used in a sense peculiar to ourselves.
In Latin the word for power is imperium, which is largely evocative of the state, and we tend to think of power in political terms — that is, in terms of our relation to one another in the public sphere (power dynamics within families are usually confined to the private sphere, except when those families play political roles — see the Kennedys, the Bushes and the Clintons).
Sometimes the equivalent of the Roman Empire in these pages is the world-wide 'imperium', cultural and geopolitical, of American power today; and sometimes it is just America as a state, with its frontiers drawn against the barbarian hordes of Mexico and, er, Canada...
In Southern Rhodesia, the conflict is really one between the two old concepts of the days of Alexander the Great, the 'imperium' and the equality of the communities delegating the 'imperium'.
All we have done is restoration of the spirit and concept of 'imperium' and empire as in the days of Alexander the Great.
Once this is done, this is a society which can progress, prosper in equality which the full 'imperium' restored to the national community.
The Commonwealth of Nations was bom out of these tribulations and disasters of the two World Wars but it is clearly the full and complete restoration of the Greek 'imperium' in its old concept.