1520s, in grammar, "expressing command," used of the form of a verb which expresses command, entreaty, advice, or exhortation, 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.
updated on March 23, 2021