Definition of imperative in English:


Line breaks: im|pera|tive
Pronunciation: /ɪmˈpɛrətɪv


  • 2Giving an authoritative command; peremptory: the bell pealed again, a final imperative call
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    • The high incidence of nominalization in the CMA code completes the message of authority given by the imperative mode and its deontological orientation.
    • But then there will be an imperative demand for the local authorities to invest in skilled manpower.
    • The human desire for novelty is twinned with an equally imperative desire for continuity.
  • 2.1 Grammar Denoting the mood of a verb that expresses a command or exhortation, as in come here!.
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    • In English the indicative mood is used to make factual statements, the subjunctive mood to indicate doubt or unlikelihood, and the imperative mood to express a command.
    • It's short and sweet, but decidedly in the imperative mood.
    • As is evident from my translation, the elision is that of an imperative verb.


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  • 1An essential or urgent thing: free movement of labour was an economic imperative
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    • Tackling this pandemic is one of the most urgent moral imperatives facing the world.
    • She continued: ‘There are moral imperatives also and one of the moral imperatives here is that the vulnerable must have their basic human needs met.’
    • Such an imperative seems particularly urgent because of the vacuum at the top.
  • 1.1A factor or influence making something necessary: the biological imperatives which guide male and female behaviour
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    • Some women were aware of the influence of technological imperatives on the attitudes of health professionals, and they occasionally experienced this as bullying.
    • Though feminism today is obviously a broad term that includes different and sometimes clashing ideas, many feminists reject the idea that motherhood or biological imperatives define a woman.
    • Great efforts of the mind are required to rationalize actions that are obviously contrary to fundamental biological imperatives.
  • 2 Grammar A verb or phrase in the imperative mood.
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    • Noteworthy in this meditation is the use of imperatives and action verbs, which are meant to activate the believer.
    • When Anglicans and Presbyterians used direct imperatives, they have a preference for the verbs ‘help’ and ‘teach’.
    • In fields where imperatives were present in the main text (five out of ten), we recorded interviews with the authors of one of the articles.
  • 2.1 (the imperative) The imperative mood.
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    • In any case, this tension between the indicative and the imperative may lead us to a fruitful discussion on the main theme of our deliberations during this conference.
    • We focused on the indicative and the imperative, the former implying fact, the latter implying authority.
    • Their relation sometimes shows that the imperative is no longer the consequence of the indicative, but an inseparable part of the kerygmatic indicative.



Pronunciation: /ɪmˌpɛrəˈtʌɪv(ə)l/
More example sentences
  • Thus descriptive claims cannot entail the extra expressive or imperatival component that according to the non-cognitivist is part of the meaning of moral terms.
  • On the other hand bare belief in an impersonal order of claims, while it is compatible with their absolute authority, does not provide the personal basis which their imperatival quality requires.
  • The relationship of hierarchies of imperatival policies to responsibility, and to authority policies, is discussed.


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  • When it comes to criminal justice, which is always a mirror of social justice, the state, in this case the courts, imperatively has to take note of the social facts relevant to the construction of values, principles and rules.
  • One key to understanding policy and politics in most European countries is to take it that ‘social’ indicates that the matter in hand imperatively demands a political decision to override any market solution that would otherwise emerge.
  • They [the writers of the 18th century] constitute our ordinary standard literature, and for models in English writing the tradition, not yet obsolete, of our fathers refers us imperatively hither.


More example sentences
  • He was often accused of political intractability, a lack of imperativeness, too great a readiness to take clairvoyants seriously, and excessive slyness.
  • Ongoing teacher education is needed to bring to the consciousness of teachers the necessity, the imperativeness of humane education.
  • Even those professing to walk a darker path, including many Satanists, recognize the imperativeness of taking responsibility for their own actions.


late Middle English (as a grammatical term): from late Latin imperativus (literally 'specially ordered', translating Greek prostatikē enklisis 'imperative mood'), from imperare 'to command', from in- 'towards' + parare 'make ready'.

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