March 27, 2013
imperious (adjective)
\im-PEER-ee-us\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : behaving like someone who is a supreme ruler2 : imperative, urgent
How do you use it?
"The next day at three o'clock we were again at the door, and the footmen as before; we heard the silk dress rustle, and the lady came down the steps, and in an imperious voice she said, ‘York, you must put those horses' heads higher; they are not fit to be seen.'" (Anna Sewell, _Black Beauty_)
Are you a word wiz?

Based on what you know about the word "imperious," what do you think the Latin word that gave us "imperious" means?

If answer A commanded your attention, you got it right! "Imperium," the Latin word that gave us "imperious," means "command" or "supreme authority." "Imperium" gave rise to the Latin adjective "imperiosus," which was taken into English in the 1500s as "imperious." Another member of this commanding word family is "empire." It picked up the initial "e-" in French before passing into English. An additional relative is "imperial," from a different adjective derived from "imperium." What about "emperor"? That's not a direct descendant, but comes from a verb that may have been a grandparent of "imperium."
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