Definitions

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

  • transitive v. To invoke evil upon; curse.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To call down by prayer, as something hurtful or calamitous.
  • v. To invoke evil upon; to curse; to swear at.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • transitive v. To call down by prayer, as something hurtful or calamitous.
  • transitive v. To invoke evil upon; to curse; to swear at.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To pray for; express a strong desire for; invoke: in a good sense.
  • Specifically To call down by prayer, as some evil upon an enemy, or in anger; invoke or express a malevolent desire for, as something evil.
  • To invoke a curse or evil upon; curse.

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

  • v. wish harm upon; invoke evil upon
  • v. utter obscenities or profanities

Etymologies

Latin imprecāri, imprecāt- : in-, towards; see in-2 + precārī, to pray, ask; see prek- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin imprecari ("to invoke (good or evil) upon, pray to, call upon"), from in ("upon") + precari ("to pray"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Oh, earth! how often did I imprecate curses on the cause of my being!

    Chapter 16

  • But when the next national storm confronts America, the automatic impulse to imprecate the nation combined with the widespread sense of ultimate entitlement will make it impossible for the country to act with sufficient strength to confront its troubles.

    Torture as Literature

  • Sure enough, "Fuck You" is one of this year's most uplifting releases, with a chorus that makes you want to punch the air and imprecate cheerfully at total strangers.

    Cee Lo Green: The Lady Killer – review

  • But I threw myself at her feet, and took hold of her reluctant hand, and began to imprecate, avow, to promise — But thus the passionate beauty, interrupting me, went on:

    Clarissa Harlowe

  • O thou guileful betrayer! there is a just God, whom thou invokest: yet the thunderbolt descends not; and thou livest to imprecate and deceive!

    Clarissa Harlowe

  • At other times he would imprecate maledictions upon his head, and curse him as her destroyer.

    The Vampyre

  • Oh earth! how often did I imprecate curses on the cause of my being!

    Frankenstein; Or, The Modern Prometheus

  • How often did I imprecate curses on the cause of my being!

    Frankenstein

  • This whale is not dead; he is only dispirited; out of sorts, perhaps; hypochondriac; and so supine, that the hinges of his jaw have relaxed, leaving him there in that ungainly sort of plight, a reproach to all his tribe, who must, no doubt, imprecate lock-jaws upon him.

    Moby Dick; or the Whale

  • When all had by acclamations given their approbation to these things, Demetrius commanded that, according to their custom, they should imprecate curses upon any that should, by addition, or alteration, or diminution, ever make any change in it.

    From the Talmud and Hebraica

Comments

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  • "His eyes closed tightly, Levi waited for the bolt of fire from on high to strike him down. This did not happen, and, whithout opening his eyes, Levi continued to shout insults and imprecations at the heavens." (The Master and Margarita -- Bulkagov)

    December 17, 2006