Imprimatur

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The word 'imprimatur' - pronounced, with the stress on the penultimate syllable, im-pri-MAH-ter IPA: /,ɪm prɪ 'mɑː tə/ or im-pri-MAY-ter IPA: /,ɪm prɪ 'meɪ tə/ - means 'Let it be printed' in Latin, and is used in English as a noun meaning 'authority (especially for a document to be published), approval (e.g., of a policy or decision), or similar forms of authorisation or endorsement' - as in 'The prime minister has given his imprimatur to the Home Office's new proposals regarding identity cards' or 'We now have the Vice-chancellor's imprimatur for the Science Faculty's policy of recruiting more local students'. The word may be used outside formal or official contexts, as in 'My wife has given her imprimatur to our buying new curtains for the dining room', but such uses will usually be jocular, and the word cannot be used generally as a synonym for 'approval, authorisation, or permission' - unsurprisingly, given its etymology.

The word 'imprimatur' was originally, and is still, used within the Roman Catholic Church to refer to the licence, granted usually by a bishop, to certify that a book or other document contains no material 'offensive to faith or morals' and may therefore be published.

See also Nihil obstat.