What does imperfect mean?

Definitions for imperfect
ɪmˈpɜr fɪktim·per·fect

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word imperfect.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. progressive, progressive tense, imperfect, imperfect tense, continuous tenseadjective

    a tense of verbs used in describing action that is on-going

  2. imperfectadjective

    not perfect; defective or inadequate

    "had only an imperfect understanding of his responsibilities"; "imperfect mortals"; "drainage here is imperfect"

  3. fallible, frail, imperfect, weakadjective

    wanting in moral strength, courage, or will; having the attributes of man as opposed to e.g. divine beings

    "I'm only a fallible human"; "frail humanity"


  1. imperfectnoun

    Something having a minor flaw

  2. imperfectnoun

    A tense of verbs used in describing a past action that is incomplete or continuous.

  3. imperfectadjective

    Not perfect

  4. imperfectadjective

    unisexual: having either male (with stamens) or female (with pistil) flowers, but not with both.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. IMPERFECTadjective

    Etymology: imparfait, Fr. imperfectus, Latin.

    Something he left imperfect in the state,
    Which, since his coming forth, is thought of,
    Which brought the kingdom so much fear and danger,
    That his return was most required. William Shakespeare.

    Opinion is a light, vain, crude and imperfect thing, settled in the imagination; but never arriving at the understanding, there to obtain the tincture of reason. Ben Jonson.

    The middle action, which produceth imperfect bodies, is fitly called, by some of the ancients, inquination or inconcoction, which is a kind of putrefaction. Francis Bacon.

    The ancients were imperfect in the doctrine of meteors, by their ignorance of gunpowder and fireworks. Brown.

    There are divers things we agree to be knowledge by the bare light of nature, which yet are so uneasy to be satisfactorily understood by our imperfect intellects, that let them be delivered in the clearest expressions, the notions themselves will yet appear obscure. Boyle.

    A marcor is either imperfect, tending to a greater withering, which is curable; or perfect, that is, an intire wasting of the body, excluding all cure. Gideon Harvey, on Consumptions.

    The still-born sounds upon the palate hung,
    And dy'd imperfect on the falt'ring tongue. Dryden.

    As obscure and imperfect ideas often involve our reason, so do dubious words puzzle men. John Locke.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Imperfectadjective

    not perfect; not complete in all its parts; wanting a part; deective; deficient

  2. Imperfectadjective

    wanting in some elementary organ that is essential to successful or normal activity

  3. Imperfectadjective

    not fulfilling its design; not realizing an ideal; not conformed to a standard or rule; not satisfying the taste or conscience; esthetically or morally defective

  4. Imperfectnoun

    the imperfect tense; or the form of a verb denoting the imperfect tense

  5. Imperfectverb

    to make imperfect

  6. Etymology: [L. imperfectus: pref. im- not + perfectus perfect: cf. F imparfait, whence OE. imparfit. See Perfect.]


  1. Imperfect

    The imperfect is a verb form, found in various languages, which combines past tense and imperfective aspect. It can therefore have meanings similar to the English "was walking" or "used to walk". It contrasts with preterite forms, which refer to a single completed event in the past. Traditionally, the imperfect of languages such as Latin and French is referred to as one of the tenses, although in fact it encodes aspectual information in addition to tense. It may be more precisely called past imperfective. When used in relation to English, "imperfect" usually refers to forms like was doing or were doing, but these are more commonly called past progressive or past continuous. The term can take on specific conventional meanings in the grammars of particular languages. In German, Imperfekt was used to refer to the simply conjugated past tense, but the term Präteritum is now preferred, since the form does not carry any implication of imperfective aspect.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Imperfect

    im-pėr′fekt, adj. incomplete: defective: not fulfilling its design: liable to err.—adv. Imper′fectly.—ns. Imper′fectness, Imperfec′tion.

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  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of imperfect in Chaldean Numerology is: 4

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of imperfect in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of imperfect in a Sentence


    Perfect Love happens at the most imperfect moments!

  2. Gareth Price:

    When they arrived last time around, it was after a civil war. There was nothing. Now they're inheriting a system of government that, however imperfect, does exist, the question that no one knows the answer to is how The Taliban conceive of government.

  3. Stephen Jay Gould:

    “The literal record was not a hopelessly and imperfect fraction of truly insensible gradation within large populations but an accurate reflection of the actual process identified by evolutionists as the chief motor of biological change. The theory of punctuated equilibrium was, in its initial formulation, little more than this insight adumbrated.”

  4. Bernd Meyring:

    Given all the limitations of existing tools, legislation would be a far more appropriate tool to deal with the issue than trying to use an imperfect tool box.

  5. Trinidad James:

    I know that I'm desensitized to certain things and it's not on purpose. It's just because I'm imperfect as a human just like anyone else. But I feel like when you have that light bulb going off in your head, use your voice, use your platform for something that matters.

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Translations for imperfect

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"imperfect." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 28 May 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/imperfect>.

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    established or prearranged unalterably
    • A. incumbent
    • B. ultimo
    • C. foreordained
    • D. appellative

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