Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English


English definition of “imperative”


noun [C] (URGENT)    /ɪmˈper.ə.tɪv/ US  /-t̬ɪv/
something that is extremely important or urgent: Getting the unemployed back to work, said the minister, is a moral imperative.Important and essential thingsInformation and messages
(Definition of imperative noun (URGENT) from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
Focus on the pronunciation of imperative

Definitions of “imperative” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

limber up

to do gentle exercises to stretch the muscles in order to prepare the body for more active physical exercise

Word of the Day


Read our blog about how the English language behaves.

Learn More

New Words

Find words and meanings that have just started to be used in English, and let us know what you think of them.

Learn More