early 15c., from Old French éminent "prominent" (13c.) or directly from Latin eminentem (nominative eminens) "standing out, projecting, prominent, high," figuratively "distinguished, distinctive," present participle of eminere "stand out, project; be prominent, be conspicuous," from assimilated form of ex "out" (see ex-) + -minere, which is related to mons "hill" (from PIE root *men- (2) "to project"). Related: Eminently. Legal eminent domain recorded from 1738.
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