Imprecation vs implication

Photo of author


Imprecation and implication are two words that are close in spelling and pronunciation, but have very different meanings. We will examine the definitions of imprecation and implication, where these two words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

Imprecation may mean a curse, or it may mean something exceedingly hostile or angry that is spoken to someone or about someone. Imprecation is a noun, the verb forms are imprecate, imprecates, imprecated, imprecating, and the adjective form is imprecatory. The word imprecatory is well known in Biblical circles, as it is used to describe the Imprecatory Psalms. These Psalms are poems, songs or prayers that invoke curses or divine justice on the enemies of heaven who are sinful, wicked, and deserve punishment. These verses are found in the Old Testament. Rather than a prayer intended to worship God, an Imprecatory Psalm is a malediction seeking suffering and vengeance in judgement upon those who sin. After they are punished, these sinners may repent of their wickedness, or they may suffer destruction under the wrath of God. Many readers of these Psalms find them distasteful, full of anger and self-righteousness, calling down evil upon the world. However, some scholars say that the Imprecatory Psalms simply expose the human condition, bared before God. Humans are fallible and may lash out when injured. The word imprecation first appeared in the mid-1400s, from the Latin word imprecationem which means invocation of evil.

An implication may be the likely or logical outcome of a situation, or it may be a conclusion that may be drawn from a set of facts or ideas, without being explicitly stated. Implication may also mean being associated or involved with something, usually in a negative way. For instance, someone’s implication in a crime. The word implication is related to the word imply, which means to express something indirectly. Other related words are implies, implied, implying, implicate, implicates, implicated, implicating. The word implication first appeared in the 1400s and is derived from the Latin word implicationem, which means entangled or interwoven.


In fact, the shrew was so despised that it was one of the nicknames for the Devil himself and a favourite medieval imprecation to invoke harm was ‘I beshrew thee’. (Country Life Magazine)

Only last week the foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, reportedly gave a terse and pungent imprecation to diplomats who raised the issue of companies doubting his wisdom about the UK leaving the EU without a trade deal. (The Guardian)

“This imprecation does not merely relate to someone’s present home, but to all the members of his family being thrown into the street to lead lives of destitution, humiliation and shame. (Mondoweiss)

The limited perspective in his message has significant and harmful implications for our students and our state. (The Minneapolis Star Tribune)

The crescendo of this degeneration was at the suspension of the notorious Gupta accounts at all four major banks, and the implication of KPMG and McKinsey in some of the family’s business operations that were supposedly defrauding the South African public. (The Independent)

In a radio ad set to air Wednesday, Virginia Republican Corey A. Stewart is doubling down on a suggestion that Sen. Tim Kaine has been accused of sexual harrassment, an implication that has no evidence and which Kaine (D) calls completely false. (The Washington Post)