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From Anglo-Norman peremptorie, parentorie et al. (Modern French péremptoire), and its source, Latin peremptōrius ‎(deadly; decisive), from perimō ‎(destroy, deadly).



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 I
      [] 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'.


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peremptory ‎(plural peremptories)

  1. (law) A challenge to the admission of a juror, without the challenger needing to show good cause.
    • 2015 June 18, Justice Alito, Davis v. Ayala, Case No. 13-1428:
      Each side was allowed 20 peremptories, and the prosecution used 18 of its allotment.