Imperfect tense
Imperfect Im*per"fect, a. [L. imperfectus: pref. im- not + perfectus perfect: cf. F imparfait, whence OE. imparfit. See {Perfect}.] 1. Not perfect; not complete in all its parts; wanting a part; deective; deficient. [1913 Webster]

Something he left imperfect in the state. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

Why, then, your other senses grow imperfect. --Shak. [1913 Webster]

2. Wanting in some elementary organ that is essential to successful or normal activity. [1913 Webster]

He . . . stammered like a child, or an amazed, imperfect person. --Jer. Taylor. [1913 Webster]

3. 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. [1913 Webster]

Nothing imperfect or deficient left Of all that he created. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Then say not man's imperfect, Heaven in fault; Say rather, man's as perfect as he ought. --Pope. [1913 Webster]

{Imperfect arch}, an arch of less than a semicircle; a skew arch.

{Imperfect cadence} (Mus.), one not ending with the tonic, but with the dominant or some other chord; one not giving complete rest; a half close.

{Imperfect consonances} (Mus.), chords like the third and sixth, whose ratios are less simple than those of the fifth and forth.

{Imperfect flower} (Bot.), a flower wanting either stamens or pistils. --Gray.

{Imperfect interval} (Mus.), one a semitone less than perfect; as, an imperfect fifth.

{Imperfect number} (Math.), a number either greater or less than the sum of its several divisors; in the former case, it is called also a {defective number}; in the latter, an {abundant number}.

{Imperfect obligations} (Law), obligations as of charity or gratitude, which cannot be enforced by law.

{Imperfect power} (Math.), a number which can not be produced by taking any whole number or vulgar fraction, as a factor, the number of times indicated by the power; thus, 9 is a perfect square, but an imperfect cube.

{Imperfect tense} (Gram.), a tense expressing past time and incomplete action. [1913 Webster]


The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Imperfect tense — The imperfect tense, in the classical grammar of several Indo European languages, denotes a past tense with an imperfective aspect. In English, it is referred to as the past continuous tense.The term originated with the Latin language because… …   Wikipedia

  • imperfect tense — noun A tense used to describe a past action that is ongoing, incomplete or continuous, or coincident with another action. “I was watching tennis” is an example of the imperfect tense …   Wiktionary

  • imperfect tense — noun a tense of verbs used in describing action that is on going • Syn: ↑progressive, ↑progressive tense, ↑imperfect, ↑continuous tense • Hypernyms: ↑tense • Hyponyms: ↑pr …   Useful english dictionary

  • past imperfect tense — noun A grammatical tense which expresses the past as an action which was still going on at the point in time described, say someone was ...ing something, as opposed to the already accomplished counterpart past perfect tense (where the action took …   Wiktionary

  • (the) imperfect tense — …   Useful english dictionary

  • Imperfect — Im*per fect, a. [L. imperfectus: pref. im not + perfectus perfect: cf. F imparfait, whence OE. imparfit. See {Perfect}.] 1. Not perfect; not complete in all its parts; wanting a part; deective; deficient. [1913 Webster] Something he left… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Imperfect arch — Imperfect Im*per fect, a. [L. imperfectus: pref. im not + perfectus perfect: cf. F imparfait, whence OE. imparfit. See {Perfect}.] 1. Not perfect; not complete in all its parts; wanting a part; deective; deficient. [1913 Webster] Something he… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Imperfect cadence — Imperfect Im*per fect, a. [L. imperfectus: pref. im not + perfectus perfect: cf. F imparfait, whence OE. imparfit. See {Perfect}.] 1. Not perfect; not complete in all its parts; wanting a part; deective; deficient. [1913 Webster] Something he… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Imperfect consonances — Imperfect Im*per fect, a. [L. imperfectus: pref. im not + perfectus perfect: cf. F imparfait, whence OE. imparfit. See {Perfect}.] 1. Not perfect; not complete in all its parts; wanting a part; deective; deficient. [1913 Webster] Something he… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Imperfect flower — Imperfect Im*per fect, a. [L. imperfectus: pref. im not + perfectus perfect: cf. F imparfait, whence OE. imparfit. See {Perfect}.] 1. Not perfect; not complete in all its parts; wanting a part; deective; deficient. [1913 Webster] Something he… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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