Definition of imperfect in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪmˈpəːfɪkt/


1Not perfect; faulty or incomplete: an imperfect grasp of English
More example sentences
  • It makes no sense in a machine world to limit the functionality of perfect components so that imperfect components don't wear out or break - certainly not if you can replace them.
  • And thus, it had been the perfect end to the imperfect day.
  • It's tough trying to be perfect in an imperfect world.
faulty, flawed, defective, shoddy, unsound, unsaleable, unsellable, unfit, inferior, second-rate, below par, below standard, substandard;
damaged, impaired, blemished, broken, cracked, torn, scratched, deformed, warped, shabby;
inoperative, malfunctioning, not functioning, not working, out of order, in a state of disrepair
informal not up to snuff, not up to scratch, tenth-rate, crummy, lousy
British informal duff, ropy, rubbish, not much cop
incomplete, abridged, not whole, not entire, partial, unfinished, half-done;
deficient, lacking, wanting, unpolished, unrefined, patchy, rough, crude
broken, disjointed, faltering, halting, hesitant, rudimentary, limited, non-fluent, deficient
2 Grammar (Of a tense) denoting a past action in progress but not completed at the time in question.
Example sentences
  • Gee, was that an imperfect tense or an indicative?
  • By his use of the Hebrew imperfect tense, the psalmist shows his present trust in God is based on past experiences of God's presence and help.
  • In Spanish, Senora Montoya invited me into her classroom, boasting about my superior abilities to conjugate verbs in the imperfect tense the quickest in the class.
3 Music (Of a cadence) ending on the dominant chord.
Example sentences
  • But an imperfect cadence leaves the listener expecting resolution, which duly comes.
  • Another oft-stated rule was that a perfect 5th, unison, or octave should be approached by the nearest imperfect interval.
4 Law (Of a gift, title, etc.) transferred without all the necessary conditions or requirements being met.
Example sentences
  • The claimant's evidence was that the purported but imperfect gift had been made a long time previously and not (as the letter said) after receipt of Mr Blake's letter.
  • But the lessee's solicitors have been happy to be sitting there with this imperfect title for months.
  • The donor, having by then changed his mind, declines to perfect the imperfect gift in favour of the intended donee.


(the imperfect) Grammar
The imperfect tense.


Middle English imparfit, imperfet, from Old French imparfait, from Latin imperfectus, from in- 'not' + perfectus (see perfect). The spelling change in the 16th century was due to association with the Latin form.

Words that rhyme with imperfect

perfect, pluperfect, word-perfect

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: im|per¦fect

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