January 08, 2012
imp (noun)
\IMP\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 : a small demon2 : a mischievous child
How do you use it?
When Nana caught Elizabeth standing on the counters to reach the candy, she scolded her with "You little imp!" and lifted her back down to the floor.
Are you a word wiz?

"Imp" comes to us from the Old English verb "impian." What do you think "impian" means?

If you chose D, you're doing well! The Old English verb "impian" meant "to graft." ("Graft" means to cause a bud or shoot of a plant to become united with a main stem of another plant.) "Impian" developed into both the verb "imp," meaning "to graft," and the noun "imp," which was originally used to refer to a graft or a shoot of a tree. Before long, "imp" also referred to the "offshoot" of a person, or their child. Around the same time, "imp" began to be used of a small demon, and then of a devilish little child.
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