Build your vocabulary with Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day! Each day a Merriam-Webster editor offers insight into a fascinating new word -- explaining its meaning, current use, and little-known details about its origin.
January 3rd, 2015
Episode 65 of 903 episodes
Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for January 03, 2015 is: peremptory \puh-REMP-tuh-ree\ adjective 1 : barring a right of action, debate, or delay 2 : expressive of urgency or command 3 : marked by arrogant self-assurance : haughty Examples: The manager's peremptory rejection of any suggestions for improving office efficiency did little to inspire our confidence in his ability to help turn the company around. "Depending on the situation, Elliott can heap upon her teammates words of encouragement or, when it's needed, she can also be peremptory." Chris Hummer, Midland (Texas) Reporter-Telegram, November 10, 2014 Did you know? Peremptory is ultimately from Latin perimere, which means "to take entirely" or "destroy" and comes from per- ("thoroughly") and emere ("to take"). Peremptory implies the removal of one's option to disagree or contest something. It sometimes suggests an abrupt dictatorial manner combined with an unwillingness to tolerate disobedience or dissent (as in "he was given a peremptory dismissal"). A related term is the adjective preemptive, which comes from Latin praeemerefrom prae- ("before") plus emere. Preemptive means "marked by the seizing of the initiative" (as in "a preemptive attack").