Imidazole ring is an important five-membered aromatic heterocycle widely present in natural products and synthetic molecules. The unique structural feature of imidazole ring with desirable electron-rich characteristic is beneficial for imidazole derivatives to readily bind with a variety of enzymes and receptors in biological systems through diverse weak interactions, thereby exhibiting broad bioactivities. The related research and developments of imidazole-based medicinal chemistry have become a rapidly developing and increasingly active topic. Particularly, numerous imidazole-based compounds as clinical drugs have been extensively used in the clinic to treat various types of diseases with high therapeutic potency, which have shown the enormous development value. This work systematically gives a comprehensive review in current developments of imidazole-based compounds in the whole range of medicinal chemistry as anticancer, antifungal, antibacterial, antitubercular, anti-inflammatory, antineuropathic, antihypertensive, antihistaminic, antiparasitic, antiobesity, antiviral, and other medicinal agents, together with their potential applications in diagnostics and pathology. It is hoped that this review will be helpful for new thoughts in the quest for rational designs of more active and less toxic imidazole-based medicinal drugs, as well as more effective diagnostic agents and pathologic probes.