What are the proper uses of the word 'imperatively'? Does this sentence use the word correctly?

"We are all an imperatively significant pixel, part of the ever intricate mosaic of life."

  • 1
    A century or two ago imperatively was used reasonably often to mean autocratic, imperious, but that would be quite unusual today. I think the only place you're likely to meet it is in programming contexts where some people use it (of a service subroutine/interrupt, for example) to mean not able to be ignored (by the operating system, or whatever). But my advice would be not to use it, period. Your example usage is imho complete garbage. Apr 4, 2015 at 21:15
  • I can't say whether your use is correct or not, being as I've only heard "imperatively" maybe 5 times in my lifetime, and at least 4 of those 5 were cases where the word was essentially "made up" on the spot. (In other words, I don't advise using the word, unless you're aiming for a degree of inscrutability.)
    – Hot Licks
    Apr 4, 2015 at 22:29
  • I'm guessing the author might have been searching for empirically. Apr 4, 2015 at 23:46

1 Answer 1


Yes, this is a correct usage. My reading is:

"We are all a pixel that is imperatively significant, part of the ever intricate mosaic of life."


"We are all a pixel that is significant in an imperative /way/manner/, part of the ever intricate mosaic of life."

See it at work in all these examples at Google Books:

"in an imperatively" About 749 results

e.g., this one, where it appears in concert with another adverb, "centrally":

Race, Ethnicity, and Entrepreneurship in Urban America - Page 21 Ivan Hubert Light, ‎Carolyn Nancy Rosenstein

This strategy embeds business trust in an imperatively coordinated, centrally managed bureaucracy. Transactional economists suppose that inefficient markets compel firms to choose bureaucracy over market coordination (Acheson, 1986:49).

Also, see this recent thread:

Frequently Vs Frequent /Adverb form or Adjective form /

  • Yes. In this context it means necessarily - it is imperative that it be thus.
    – Drew
    Apr 5, 2015 at 1:14
  • Yes- "imperitavely" in this context implies that the component (the pixel) is not merely another cog in the machine, but has a role of authority or authorship.
    – bobro
    Apr 5, 2015 at 7:09

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