1520s, in grammar, from Late Latin imperativus "pertaining to a command," from imperat-, past participle stem of imperare "to command, requisition," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (from PIE root *en "in") + parare "to arrange, prepare, adorn" (from PIE root *pere-(1) "to produce, procure").
mid-15c., in grammar; later "something imperative" (c. 1600), from Old French imperatif in the grammatical sense (13c.) and directly from Late Latin imperativus (see imperative (adj.)). In philosophy from 1796.
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