Definition of imperial in English:


Line breaks: im|per¦ial
Pronunciation: /ɪmˈpɪərɪəl


  • 2Relating to or denoting the system of non-metric weights and measures (the ounce, pound, stone, inch, foot, yard, mile, acre, pint, gallon, etc.) formerly used for all measures in the UK, and still used for some.
    More example sentences
    • In the imperial system, 36 inches are 1 yard and 1760 yards are 1 mile.
    • I didn't convert the reference to metric because it loses its impact and anyway, I'm old enough to be still working in imperial weights and measures.
    • To the relief of many - although not the younger generation schooled in metric measures - imperial weights look set to be saved.
  • 3chiefly • historical (Of a size of paper, in the UK) measuring 762 × 559 mm (30 × 22 inches).
    More example sentences
    • The paper size is imperial folio, that's almost as big as today's standard A2 page, which is equal to four standard A4 sheets.
    • He did at least 72 of the 150 paintings for the imperial folio edition and 5 additional plates for the octavo edition.
    • The five volumes consisted of an octavo of 786 pages of descriptive matter and four imperial folios containing 213 plates.


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  • A small pointed beard growing below the lower lip (associated with Napoleon III of France).
    More example sentences
    • The poet wore a luxuriant black moustache and imperial, and a slouched hat which shaded the forehead.



More example sentences
  • He forgets that he is a servant of the public, and instead states imperially: ‘The government has agreed to sell.’
  • That comes of acting imperially without admitting the imperial nature of your actions.
  • The Veritable Records were imperially compiled annals with almost daily entries, sometimes multiple entries for each day, comprised of reports from officials in the field and in the capital ministries.


late Middle English: via Old French from Latin imperialis, from imperium 'command, authority, empire'; related to imperare 'to command'. Compare with emperor, empire, also with imperious.

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