Difference Between Imminent and Eminent

Main Difference – Imminent vs. Eminent

Imminent and Eminent are two words that often put us in trouble. We often confuse these two words as they sound and look similar. However, we should always keep in mind that Imminent and Eminent are two words that have different meanings. The main difference between imminent and eminent is that imminent gives out the meaning ‘about to happen’ while eminent gives out the meaning ‘well known’ or ‘distinguished’.

Imminent – Meaning and Examples

This word descends from the two Latin words in (towards or upon) and minere (to project). Imminent is an adjective that gives out the meaning ‘forthcoming’ or ‘about to happen’. For example, look at the sentence below.

“Rama was unaware of the imminent danger at the time.”

Here, the meaning could be simply taken as Rama did not know about the dangerous event that was to happen. Words like ‘Impending,’ ’looming,’ ‘pending’ and ‘forthcoming’ can replace the word ‘imminent’ here. Thus, we can say that those words are synonyms of imminent.

“There was no baggage standing by to indicate an imminent departure.”

“The success of the young student was imminent as suggested by all the professors.”

“The parents were unaware of the imminent danger that was closing in on their child.”

“When they heard that rain was imminent, they postponed their fishing trip.”

Main Difference - Imminent vs. Eminent

Dark clouds are a sign of imminent rain.

Eminent – Meaning and Examples

Eminent is an adjective meaning distinguished and well-known. The word, eminent is derived from Latin ‘eminere’ meaning ‘jutting’ or ‘projecting.’ According to Oxford Dictionary, it refers to a famous and well respected person within a particular sphere. Synonyms of Eminent include distinguished, well-known, reputed, respected, etc.

“He was one of the world’s most eminent mathematicians.”

“William Shakespeare is an eminent playwright in English literature.”

“This award is offered to eminent people in the medical field.”

However, Eminent also gives out the meaning noteworthy or remarkable when used with a non-human noun. For example,

“She handled the difficult situation with eminent skill.”

“Her eminent good sense helped her to get out of that dangerous situation.”

Eminent also give out the meaning, protruding, projecting, or prominent.

“She had an eminent nose.”

“Many cartoonists made use of the politician’s eminent nose to ridicule him.”

The phrase eminent domain, which can be observed in a legal context, refers to the power of the government to take private property for public use.

.Difference Between Imminent and Eminent

A portrait of Sir Walter Scott, an eminent writer in English Literature

Difference Between Imminent and Eminent


Imminent highlights that something is forthcoming or about to happen.

Eminent implies well respected/noteworthy or prominent.


Imminent refers to a situation.

Eminent is mostly used with a person or a quality of a person.


Eminent is mostly used in a positive sense.

Imminent is used in both negative and positive sense.


EminentDistinguished, well-known, reputed, respected, noteworthy, remarkable, prominent, etc.

ImminentImpending, looming, pending, and forthcoming, etc.

Image Courtesy:

“Sir Henry Raeburn – Portrait of Sir Walter Scott” by Henry Raeburn – The Bridgeman Art Library, Object 68272.  via

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