Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “imperative”

See all translations

imperative

adjective uk   /ɪmˈper.ə.tɪv/ us    /-t̬ɪv/

imperative adjective (URGENT)

C2 extremely important or urgent: [+ that] The president said it was imperative that the release of all hostages be secured. [+ to infinitive] It's imperative to act now before the problem gets really serious.

imperative adjective (GRAMMAR)

specialized language used to describe the form of a verb that is usually used for giving orders: In the phrase "Leave him alone!", the verb "leave" is in the imperative form.
Grammar

imperative

noun uk   /ɪmˈper.ə.tɪv/ us    /-t̬ɪv/

imperative noun (GRAMMAR)

B2 [S] specialized language the form of a verb that is usually used for giving orders: In the phrase "Leave him alone!", the verb "leave" is an imperative/is in the imperative.
More examples

imperative noun (URGENT)

[C] something that is extremely important or urgent: Getting the unemployed back to work, said the mayor, is a moral imperative.
Grammar
(Definition of imperative from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of imperative?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “imperative” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

escapism

a way of avoiding an unpleasant or boring life, especially by thinking, reading, etc. about more exciting but impossible activities

Word of the Day

Lies, lies, lies!

by Kate Woodford,
February 25, 2015
​​​ According to sociologists (=people who study the relationships between people living in groups), we are good at lying. As a species, we have developed a remarkable ability to deceive each other (= persuade each other that something false is true). Being able to say things that are not true can help with

Read More 

showrooming noun

February 23, 2015
the activity of examining a product in a physical store and then making the purchase with an online retailer Amazon’s new smartphone is specifically designed to make showrooming fast and easy.

Read More