Tag Archive - immanent and eminent

The Danger of Misuse Is Imminent

I give extra Brownie points to writers who can keep these three words straight: imminent, eminent, and immanent. Maybe you didn’t even know there were three words like this, all with different meanings. They sound so alike, it really gives one pause—including me. So when I come across one of these, I have to run through all three in my head to make sure the correct word is being used in context.

Here are the definitions of these words:

  • Imminent: certain and very near. “You are in imminent danger!” (I try to connect this with immediate, which also has two m’s and one e.)
  • Eminent: distinguished, famous OR standing out, prominent. “Don’t you recognize that eminent doctor?” (eminent and prominent each have only one m.)
  • Immanent: indwelling, inherent (usually a theological term). “The immanent goodness of God.” (You’ll have to figure out a way to remember this one.)

How about this: “The eminent Reverend Smith will be giving his discourse imminently on the immanent power of the Holy Spirit.”