The Meaning of Imminent: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of imminent? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word imminent, including its definition, etymology, usage, example sentences, and more!

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What does the word imminent mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster unabridged dictionary of the English language as well as Collins English dictionary and American Heritage dictionary of the English language, the word imminent is an adjective that means happening soon or ready to take place. This word often has a negative connotation and is used to describe something bad or dangerous that is menacingly near. This word has an implication of menace and a weaker sense of immediacy than some other words. Many things can be imminent, including an imminent arrival, imminent death, imminent disaster, imminent arrests, an imminent insurrection, or imminent decisions. Imminent is three syllables – im-mi-nent, and the pronunciation of imminent is ˈi-mə-nənt.

There are many different languages that also contain words that mean imminent. You may notice that a lot of these translations of imminent look similar to the word imminent. These are called cognates. Cognates are words and phrases that look and sound similar across languages, and also have the same or a similar meaning. These are often formed when two words have the same root or language of origin. This list of translations of imminent is provided by Word Sense

  •  Catalan: imminent‎
  •  Swedish: nära förestående‎, överhängande‎
  •  Dutch: imminent‎, dreigend‎
  •  Russian: немину́емый‎, неизбе́жный‎, надвигающийся‎ (masc.)
  •  German: (1) bevorstehend‎
  •  Polish: bliski‎ (masc.), nadciągający‎ (masc.)
  •  French: imminent‎
  •  Italian: imminente‎
  •  Czech: bezprostřední‎
  •  Mandarin: 即將來臨‎, 即将来临‎ (jíjiāng láilín)
  •  Serbo-Croatian: iminentno‎, neminovno‎, neizbježno‎, neposredno‎, prestojeće‎
  •  Portuguese: iminente‎
  •  Maori: raraka‎ (refers to misfortune)
  •  Romanian: iminent‎ (masc.)
  •  Bokmål: nært forestående‎, umiddelbart forestående‎, overhengende‎
  •  Arabic: على وشك الوقوع‎
  •  Spanish: inminente‎
  •  Ido: minac-anta‎
  •  Greek: επικείμενος‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: tuleva‎

What is the origin of the word imminent?

According to Etymonline, the word imminent has been used since Middle English in the 1520s. This word comes from the 14c French imminent and directly from the Latin imminent, the nominative imminens meaning overhanging or impending. This is the present participle of Latin imminēre, meaning to overhand. This comes from the assimilated for of in- meaning into or upon and the root minere meaning to jut out. This is related to the Latin mons. These come from the Proto-Indo-European roots en and men. One can add the suffix ly to create the related word imminently (adv.)

What are synonyms and antonyms for the word imminent?

There are numerous different words that a person could choose to use instead of the word imminent. These are called synonyms, which are words that have the same definition or meaning as another word. Learning synonyms is a great way to avoid repeating yourself in written and spoken English, as well as a great way to expand your vocabulary in an easy way. This list of synonyms of imminent is provided by Thesaurus

  •  possible
  •  ineluctable
  •  coming
  •  close
  •  immediate
  •  expectant
  •  handwriting-on-the-wall
  •  inescapable
  •  looming
  •  next
  •  in the wind
  •  in the offing
  •  forthcoming
  •  near
  •  menacing
  •  unavoidable
  •  about to happen
  •  inevasible
  •  in the cards
  •  in the air
  •  in view
  •  approaching
  •  likely
  •  on its way
  •  on the verge
  •  on the way
  •  on the horizon
  •  gathering
  •  nigh
  •  overhanging
  •  impending
  •  inevitable
  •  unescapable
  •  brewing
  •  to come
  •  threatening
  •  probable
  •  at hand
  •  following
  •  nearing
  •  see it coming
  •  fast-approaching
  •  in store

There are also numerous words that have the opposite meaning of the word imminent. These opposite words are called antonyms, which are another quick and easy way to expand your English vocabulary. This list of antonyms is also provided by Thesaurus.

  •  obscure
  •  wide of
  •  in the distance
  •  a piece
  •  out of earshot
  •  sequestered
  •  out-of-the-way
  •  ways
  •  middle of nowhere
  •  outlying
  •  telescopic
  •  far-off
  •  isolated
  •  apart
  •  indirect
  •  far
  •  farther
  •  arm’s length
  •  away
  •  abroad
  •  far-flung
  •  further
  •  separate
  •  in the boonies
  •  yonder
  •  out of range
  •  inaccessible
  •  far back
  •  in the background
  •  secret
  •  unapproachable
  •  distant
  •  beyond range
  •  in the sticks
  •  faraway
  •  asunder
  •  removed
  •  remote
  •  abstracted
  •  out of reach
  •  not home
  •  secluded
  •  retired
  •  backwoods 

How can the word imminent be used in a sentence?

The word imminent can be used in many different ways in the English language. Using words in a sentence is a great way to memorize their definition. You can also try making flashcards or quizzes for yourself to test your knowledge on the definition of imminent. Try using this word of the day in a sentence today. Below are numerous examples of imminent to get you started.

The Princeton University student was nervous for his imminent day of judgment about academic integrity and cheating. 

The alleged rioters eagerly anticipated imminent release. The types of restraints they were being held in were claustrophobic and anxiety-inducing. They hoped they were no longer in imminent danger of serious physical harm. 

Random House and Harpercollins Publishers were awaiting the imminent publication of a massive series of stories that would bring them large profits. 

The old man could not wait for his impending retirement, which was imminent. He was ready to live out the rest of his life in a relaxed way. 

The sick person was ready for their imminent arrival of the kingdom of heaven, but their family was not ready to let them go.

Overall, the word imminent means an ominous warning or retribution, and is used to suggest some menace is nearby. The word imminent comes from the Latin imminēns, Latin imminēre and minēre, and the present participle of imminēre, and is related to the roots minae and mineō, and the English menace. This is not to be confused with the word eminent, as in eminent domain, or the misspelling immanent. 


  1. imminent: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. IMMINENT Synonyms: 50 Synonyms & Antonyms for IMMINENT | Thesaurus 
  3. DISTANT Synonyms: 94 Synonyms & Antonyms for DISTANT | Thesaurus 
  4. Imminent Etymology | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. mminent Definition | Merriam-Webster