Imperial vs empirical

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Imperial and empirical are two words that are very close in pronunciation, but have different meanings. They are sometimes confused. We will examine the definitions of imperial and empirical, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Imperial describes things that are somehow connected to an empire or an emperor. The word imperial is also sometimes used to describe something that is majestic or imposing. Imperial may be used to describe someone who is domineering and controlling, but the word imperious is a better choice for this situation. Imperial is also used to mean a system of weights and measures used in the United Kingdom before the conversion to the metric system. The word imperial is derived from the Latin word imperium meaning command or empire.

Empirical describes something that is based on actual experience or something that is based on direct observation. Empirical data is verifiable, and is based on experimentation or direct observation, rather than logic or theory. The word empirical is derived from the Greek word empeirikos, which means experienced.


For Qianlong to outshine his grandfather would have been viewed as immodest, reflecting poorly on the House of Aisin Goro, as well as on the throne itself; his abdication helped to preserve public respect for the imperial office. (Reuters)

The urban, literate, inscribing culture of antiquity, however much its existence may have been predicated on the Roman imperial war machine, was fundamentally civilian in outlook and affect; the fifth century witnessed its catastrophic impoverishment and the triumph of a military world where martial success was the main currency. (The London Review of Books)

There are multiple factors that compel each case to be treated differently and it would be a fallacy on the part of our community members to expect more consistent legal outcome than those empirical figures. (Kuesen, Bhutan’s National Newspaper)

However, empirical evidence that would demonstrate that the lowering of speeds on specific urban roads results in improved pedestrian safety is either missing or inconclusive. (The Toronto Star)