Difference between Eminent and Imminent

Eminent and imminent are very confusing words in English because of their similarity in pronunciation and slight change in spellings. The difference of pronunciation in by only one vowel sound that is ‘E’ in eminent and ‘I’ in imminent. Due to similar pronunciation, these are homophones. In this article, we will discuss main difference between eminent and imminent and their correct use in a sentence. Let’s get started.

Meaning of Eminent and Imminent

Eminent: The word eminent refers to the something or a person distinguished/important/notable from others. The word Eminent is used for individuals

Imminent:  The word imminent means that something is about to happen very soon. The word imminent is generally used for situations.

Pronunciation of Eminent: /’ɛmɪnənt/

Pronunciation of Imminent: /ˈɪmɪnənt/ or /ˈɪmənənt/

Definition of Eminent

The word eminent is used as adjective to describe someone or something noticeable, of high rank, distinguished, respected or prominent. A renowned public leader, a respected intellectual, a trustworthy person, for instance, is eminent, as the book title “Eminent Victorian” by XYZ.

According to definition by Oxford Dictionary, “it refers to a famous and well respected person within a particular sphere.”

Synonyms of Eminent

Distinguished, Prominent, Renowned, Superior, well known, reputed, respected, etc.

Examples of Eminent in sentences

  • Sir Francis Bacon was one of the world’s most eminent writer.
  • Shahid Afridi was an eminent cricketer.
  • The honorable award was offered to eminent people who served the affected in flood and rain.
  • John handled the challenging situation with eminent skill.
  • As an eminent writer, she has won many awards.

Definition of imminent

Imminent is an adjective that is used to describe something or a situation that is about to happen very soon. It specifically refers to something that is impending as frightening or dreadful. Something that is imminent means is very near or looming.

For example, when a newscaster forecasts for a 100% chance of rain, we might say that rain is imminent. 

Synonyms of imminent

The synonyms of imminent are impending, looming, forthcoming, pending etc.

Examples of Imminent in sentences

  • We were unaware of the imminent storm at the night.
  • There is a real threat of imminent violence during public protest.
  • Dusty wind is a sign of imminent storm.
  • The thick clouds suggest a rainstorm is imminent.
  • It does not make any sense to dive out with the imminent approach of a thunderstorm.

Eminently vs. Imminently

Likewise, with ‘imminently’ and ‘eminently’, there is a key difference:

Imminently means ‘occurring in a way that will happen very soon’.

Eminently means ‘very and obviously some quality’.

If you struggle to tell these spellings apart, remember that ‘imminent’ and ‘imminently’ start with the same three letters as ‘immediate’, since something imminent will happen in the immediate future.