Im`pe*ra"tor (?), n. [L. See Emperor.] Rom. Antiq.
A commander; a leader; an emperor; -- originally an appellation of honor by which Roman soldiers saluted their general after an important victory. Subsequently the title was conferred as a recognition of great military achievements by the senate, whence it carried wiht it some special privileges. After the downfall of the Republic it was assumed by Augustus and his successors, and came to have the meaning now attached to the word emperor.
© Webster 1913.