Legal Dictionary


Legal Definition of peremptory

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Definition of peremptory


    From Anglo-Norman peremptorie, parentorie et al., and its source, Latin peremptōrius (“deadly; decisive”), from perimō.


  • (UK) IPA: /pəˈɹɛmptəɹi/, SAMPA: /p@"rEmpt@rI/
  • Audio (US) [?]


peremptory (comparative more peremptory, superlative most peremptory)

  1. (law) Precluding debate or expostulation; not admitting of question or appeal; positive; absolute; decisive; conclusive; final. [from 15th c.]

    * 1596, Francis Bacon, Maxims of the Law, II:
    there is no reason but if any of the outlawries be indeed without error, but it should be a peremptory plea to the person in a writ of error, as well as in any other action.

  2. Positive in opinion or judgment; absolutely certain, overconfident, unwilling to hear any debate or argument (especially in a pejorative sense); dogmatic. [from 16th c.]

    * 2003, Andrew Marr, The Guardian, 6 Jan 03:
    He marched under a placard reading "End Bossiness Now" but decided it was a little too peremptory, not quite British, so changed the slogan on subsequent badges, to "End Bossiness Soon."

  3. (obsolete) Firmly determined, resolute; obstinate, stubborn. [16th-18th c.]
  4. Accepting no refusal or disagreement; imperious, dictatorial. [from 17th c.]

    * 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, Chapter 1:
    [...] less surprising than that he had been depressed by a book. Something was making him nibble at the edge of stale ideas as if his sturdy physical egotism no longer nourished his peremptory heart.

    * 1999, Anthony Howard, The Guardian, 2 Jan 99:
    Though today (surveying that yellowing document) I shudder at the peremptory tone of the instructions I gave, Alastair - in that same volume in which I get chastised for my coverage of the Macmillan rally - was generous enough to remark that my memorandum became 'an office classic'.


  1. Wiktionary. Published under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.


1.     quorum
2.     scienter
3.     adjudication order
4.     Miranda warning
5.     AORO
6.     lex causae
7.     lex patriae
8.     appellant
9.     stare decisis
10.     synallagmatic contract