Saturday, September 12, 2015

Word of the day: peremptory

The word of the day is peremptory:

  1. leaving no opportunity for denial or refusal; imperative 
  2. imperious or dictatorial.
  3. positive or assertive in speech, tone, manner, etc.
  4. Law.
    1. that precludes or does not admit of debate, question, etc.
    2. decisive or final.
    3. in which a command is absolute and unconditional
"decisive," 1513, legal term, from Anglo-Fr. peremptorie, from M.Fr. peremtoire, from L. peremptorius "destructive, decisive, final," from peremptor "destroyer," from perimpere "destroy, cut off," from per- "away entirely, to destruction" + emere "to take" (see exempt). Of persons or their words, "certain, assured, brooking no debate," 1586. (

"The truth about my son is that despite his good nature, his intelligence, his extensive education, and his bulldozer energy, he is as blunt as a kick in the shins.  He is peremptory even with a doorbell button.  His thumb never inquires whether one is within, and then waits to see.  It pushes, and ten seconds later pushes again, and one second after that goes down on the button and stays there."

 - Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

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