Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary
1

importune

play
adjective im·por·tune \ˌim-pər-ˈtün, -ˈtyün; im-ˈpȯr-ˌ, -chən\

Definition of importune

importunely

adverb


Origin and Etymology of importune

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French importun, from Latin importunus, from in- + -portunus (as in opportunus fit) — more at opportune


First Known Use: 15th century


2

importune

verb im·por·tune

Simple Definition of importune

  • : to ask (someone) for something or to do something in a repeated or annoying way

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of importune

importuned

importuning

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 a :  to press or urge with troublesome persistence b archaic :  to request or beg for urgently

  3. 2 :  annoy, trouble

  4. intransitive verb
  5. :  to beg, urge, or solicit persistently or troublesomely

importuner

noun

Examples of importune in a sentence

  1. He stood on the street corner, importuning passersby for help.

  2. He importuned them to help.



Did You Know?

Importune has many synonyms-including "beg," "entreat," "beseech," and "implore." "Beg" suggests earnestness or insistence especially in asking for a favor ("the children begged to stay up late"). "Entreat" implies an effort to persuade or to overcome resistance ("she entreated him to change his mind"). "Beseech" implies great eagerness or anxiety ("I beseech you to have mercy"), and "implore" adds to "beseech" a suggestion of greater urgency or anguished appeal ("he implored her not to leave him"). But it is "importune" that best conveys irritating doggedness in trying to break down resistance to a request and the accompanying annoyance ("the filmmakers were importuning viewers for contributions"), as it has since Middle English speakers adopted it from Anglo-French in the 15th century.

1530

First Known Use of importune

1530

Synonym Discussion of importune

beg, entreat, beseech, implore, supplicate, adjure, importune mean to ask urgently. beg suggests earnestness or insistence in the asking <they begged for help>. entreat implies an effort to persuade or to overcome resistance <entreated me to join them>. beseech and implore imply a deeply felt anxiety <I beseech you to have mercy> <implored her not to leave>. supplicate suggests a posture of humility <with bowed heads they supplicated their Lord>. adjure implies advising as well as pleading <we were adjured to tell the truth>. importune suggests an annoying persistence in trying to break down resistance <importuning viewers for donations>.

IMPORTUNE Defined for Kids

importune

play
verb im·por·tune \ˌim-pər-ˈtün, -ˈtyün\

Definition of importune for Students

importuned

importuning

  1. :  to beg or urge in a repeated or annoying way <Salesmen importuned us to buy.>




Law Dictionary

importune

verb im·por·tune \ˌim-pȯr-ˈtün, -ˈtyün; im-ˈpȯr-ˌtyün, -chən\

Legal Definition of importune

importuned

importuning

  1. transitive verb
  2. :  to press or urge with troublesome persistence <who solicits, requests, commands, importunes or intentionally aids another person to engage in conduct which constitutes an offense — General Statutes of Connecticut>
  3. intransitive verb
  4. :  to beg, urge, or press another persistently or troublesomely — compare coerce, solicit





Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up importune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to proceed clumsily or ineffectually

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

lavender-fields-in-france

Which of these is a synonym of caesura?

rebellion interruption torrent megillah
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ