Definition of imperium in US English:



  • Absolute power.

    ‘an outpost of their economic imperium’
    • ‘The most obvious, and in the abstract perhaps least objectionable, kind of informal imperium is that exercised by a country seeking to protect its interests and those of its friends by taking on a policing role in regional conflicts.’
    • ‘Instead of dialogue and conciliation between independent states, under the Roman imperium there was only the alternative of obedience or revolt.’
    • ‘The Consuls were endowed with the ex-king's imperium.’
    • ‘They envied that year not so much as a revolt against the Soviet imperium but as a breaking out of prison into a brilliantly lit, innovative world where individual joy and curiosity were supreme values.’
    • ‘Socrates' death perhaps benefitted from the relatively humane practices of Greek law as it applied to free citizens in comparison to the tortures exacted by the Roman imperium.’
    • ‘To the motley collection of recent books devoted to describing and assessing the prospects of the American imperium, this volume adds remarkably little.’
    • ‘Grandiose though he was, he could hardly have imagined the fearsome awfulness of the twenty-first-century American imperium when he baptized its birth in the early days of the Second World War.’
    • ‘Along with Bombay, also part of the unhappy Catherine's dowry, it marked the furthest limit of what Charles had conceived to be his imperium, the latest, and soon to be greatest, mercantile power in the world.’
    • ‘The Collectanea argued that since AD 187 the king of England had enjoyed secular imperium and spiritual supremacy within his realm, powers modelled on the kings of Israel and later Roman emperors.’
    • ‘If the American imperium is seemingly more dominant than ever it has nothing to do, we are told, with economic exploitation.’
    • ‘This mighty imperium covered one-sixth of the land surface of the globe, and was populated by almost 150 million people of more than a hundred different nationalities.’
    • ‘But as the Japanese imperium widened, Chinese resistance stiffened.’
    • ‘The royal power, like the Roman imperium even in the republic, was needed for the defence of the realm and to enforce the laws; and the lawyers held that for these two functions the king's power was absolute.’
    • ‘Would-be Cassandras have been predicting the imminent downfall of the American imperium ever since its inception.’
    • ‘In 18 he was given tribunician power for five years, a power held otherwise only by Augustus, and his imperium (overriding military and civil authority) was renewed for the same period.’
    • ‘That another agenda unfolding in the American imperium led to the appropriation of their work for Cold War propaganda should be understood as one component of a larger constellation of forces that declared the American Century.’
    • ‘But this envisioned imperium may not resolve the challenges confronting the United States.’
    • ‘That is to say, unless the possessor has explicit authority from a person in whom is bestowed imperium, there is no right of possession.’
    • ‘Can it lay the ghost of the Roman imperium and become something other than a male gerontocracy?’
    • ‘This slightly earlier portrait of the same imperial couple emphasizes their immobile majesty as Manuel and Marie stare out of the page as living icons of imperium.’


Mid 17th century: from Latin, ‘command, authority, empire’; related to imperare ‘to command’.