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

past participle

the form of a verb, usually made by adding -ed, used in some grammatical structures such as the passive and the present perfect

Word of the Day

Euphemisms (Words used to Avoid Offending People)

by Kate Woodford,
March 04, 2015
​​​ We recently looked at the language that we use to describe lies and lying. One area of lying that we considered was ‘being slightly dishonest, or not speaking the complete truth’. One reason for not speaking the complete truth is to avoid saying something that might upset or offend people. Words and

Read More 

snapchat verb

March 02, 2015
to send someone a message using the photomessaging application Snapchat We used to have a thing until he got a girlfriend. now

Read More