AskDefine | Define imp

Dictionary Definition



1 (folklore) fairies that are somewhat mischievous [syn: elf, hob, gremlin, pixie, pixy, brownie]
2 one who is playfully mischievous [syn: scamp, monkey, rascal, rapscallion, scalawag, scallywag]

User Contributed Dictionary



Etymology 1

etyl ang impa. Cognate with German Impf, Swedish ymp.


  1. a supernatural creature, similar to a demon but smaller and less powerful.
  2. a mischievous child.
Related terms

Etymology 2

etyl ang impian, apparently ultimately from a Latin source. Cognate with German impfen.


  1. To plant or engraft.
  2. In the context of "falconry": To engraft feathers into a bird's wing.
    "For, if I imp my wing on Thine",--Herbert (1633)
  3. To eke out, strengthen, [[enlarge].

Etymology 3




Extensive Definition

This article is about the mythical creature. For other uses see IMP.
An imp is a mythological being similar to a fairy or demon, frequently described in folklore and superstition. The word derives from the term ympe, used to denote a young grafted tree.
Imps are usually described as mischievous more than seriously threatening, and as lesser beings rather than more important supernatural beings. The attendants of the devil are sometimes described as imps. They are usually described as lively and having small stature.


Some accounts of imps treat them as capable of being turned to good, because they are so desperately lonely they would do almost anything—even commit good deeds—to have a committed friend.
The Ancient Greek demigod Pan has some features in common with an imp, but this is unlikely to be a direct connection, since the imp concept probably belongs to Germanic rather than Hellenic tradition. However, imps are sometimes described as fond of music, and capable of being charmed into making a promise to aid, and "do good" in that manner through music—though there is always likely to be some mischievous trick to be attached to the barter.
Imps were the common name given to familiar spirits that served witches in the middle ages. Imps were usually kept inside artifacts such as gemstone pieces or vials and summoned for service by magics. An example of such an imp is one that was supposedly under the service of the alchemist Paracelsus.



imp in Czech: Šotek
imp in Italian: Folletto
imp in Lithuanian: Impas
imp in Japanese: インプ (悪魔)
imp in Simple English: Imp
imp in Swedish: Imp

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Ariel, Befind, Corrigan, Dingbelle, Fifinella, Finnbeara, Hob, Hobgoblin, JD, Mab, Oberon, Puck, Titania, appendage, arm, bad boy, bad fairy, bad peri, banshee, booger, bough, branch, brat, brownie, buffoon, bugger, cluricaune, cutup, devil, deviling, devilkin, diablotin, dwarf, elf, enfant terrible, erlking, fairy, fairy queen, fay, funmaker, gamin, gnome, goblin, gremlin, hand, hob, hobgoblin, holy terror, hood, hoodlum, hooligan, joint, joker, jokester, juvenile delinquent, knave, kobold, leg, leprechaun, limb, link, little devil, little monkey, little rascal, lobe, lobule, member, minx, mischief, mischief-maker, monkey, offshoot, organ, ouphe, peri, pinion, pixie, poltergeist, pooka, practical joker, prankster, puca, puck, punk, punk kid, pwca, ramification, rapscallion, rascal, rogue, rowdy, ruffian, runner, scamp, scapegrace, scion, spoiled brat, spray, sprig, sprite, spur, switch, sylph, sylphid, tail, tendril, tokoloshe, troll, twig, urchin, wag, whippersnapper, wing, young devil
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