Definition of imperial in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɪmˈpɪərɪəl/


1Relating to an empire: Britain’s imperial past
More example sentences
  • Will we, or our imperial president, choose empire or will we re-discover ourselves and return to the historic principles of non-intervention?
  • We are, de facto, the world empire, the world imperial authority.
  • And as they did in the imperial era, the lonely men of the remote hinterland clamour for a wife with potentially profound consequences for the entire nation.
royal, regal, monarchal, monarchial, monarchical, sovereign, kingly, queenly, princely, majestic
rare imperatorial
1.1Relating to an emperor: the imperial family
More example sentences
  • For any official serving the imperial family, respecting the emperor's mother was also a necessity, which lent support from the moral angle to concubines running State affairs.
  • He soon moved against the imperial family, executing first the emperor's mother, Maria, and then young Alexius himself in November.
  • ‘It is my sincere dream, and a great honor, to host the imperial couple, the Emperor and the Empress, in Poland,’ he said.
1.2Majestic or magnificent: the bedroom is huge and very imperial
More example sentences
  • The bedroom reflects Dalí's most extravagant tendencies, as illustrated by the imposing imperial style of the beds.
  • It is also famous for being one of Europe's grandest imperial cities.
majestic, grand, dignified, proud, stately, noble, aristocratic, regal;
magnificent, great, distinguished, imposing, impressive, august, lofty
1.3Imperious or domineering: the party and its autocratic—many would say imperial—ways
More example sentences
  • The most imperial of tiger shooting governor-generals is thus refashioned into a cuddly environmentalist.
  • Fundamentalists may thus act in an imperial or aggressive or violent manner.
  • I faced the dark form beside me and used my best imperial voice.
imperious, high-handed, commanding, peremptory, dictatorial, domineering, bossy, arrogant, overweening, overbearing, authoritarian, tyrannical, authoritative, lordly, officious
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.
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).
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.


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



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.

Words that rhyme with imperial

arterial, bacterial, cereal, criterial, ethereal, ferial, funereal, immaterial, magisterial, managerial, material, ministerial, presbyterial, serial, sidereal, venereal, biomaterial

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: im|per¦ial

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