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Meaning of imperative

im•per•a•tive

Pronunciation: (im-per'u-tiv), [key]
— adj.
  1. absolutely necessary or required; unavoidable: It is imperative that we leave.
  2. of the nature of or expressing a command; commanding.
  3. noting or pertaining to the mood of the verb used in commands, requests, etc., as in Listen! Go! Cf. indicative (def. 2),(def. 1).
—n.
  1. a command.
  2. something that demands attention or action; an unavoidable obligation or requirement; necessity: It is an imperative that we help defend friendly nations.
    1. the imperative mood.
    2. a verb in this mood.
  3. an obligatory statement, principle, or the like.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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