- an official license by the Roman Catholic Church to print an ecclesiastical or religious book; a person’s acceptance or guarantee that something is of a good standard, a license to print or publish especially by Roman Catholic episcopal authority; approval of a publication under circumstances of official censorship; sanction, approval; imprint; a mark of approval or distinction:
“the original LP enjoyed the imprimatur of the composer”
“He gave the book his imprimatur.”
“could not begin the project without the boss’s imprimatur”
approbation, blessing, favor, approval, OK (or okay)
disapprobation, disapproval, disfavor
Imprimatur means “let it be printed” in New Latin. It comes from Latin imprimere, meaning to “imprint” or “impress.” In the 1600s, the word appeared in the front matter of books, accompanied by the name of an official authorizing the book’s printing. It was also in the 1600s that English speakers began using imprimatur in the general sense of “official approval.” The Roman Catholic Church still issues imprimaturs for books concerned with religious matters (to indicate that a work contains nothing offensive to Catholic morals or faith), and there have been other authorities for imprimaturs as well. For example, when Samuel Pepys was president of the Royal Society, he placed his imprimatur on the title page of England’s great scientific work, Sir Isaac Newton’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, in 1687.
mid 17th cent.: from Latin, ‘let it be printed’ from the verb imprimere (see imprint).
New Latin, let it be printed, from imprimere to print, from Latin, to imprint, impress — more at impress
First Known Use: 1640