• impugn
  • audio pronunciation
  • \im-PYOON\
  • DEFINITION

verb

: to assail by words or arguments : oppose or attack as false or lacking integrity
  • EXAMPLES

The group has launched a series of negative campaign ads impugning the character of leading candidate.

"It is true that the more ammunition the defense has to impugn the general believability of the complainant, the more difficult the prosecution's job." -- From an article by Jeanne M. Hauch in The Washington Times, July 22, 2011

  • DID YOU KNOW?

When you impugn, you hazard repugnant pugnacity. More simply put, you risk insulting someone to the point where he or she wants to sock you. The belligerent implications of "impugn" are to be expected in a word that derives from the Latin verb "pugnare," which means "to fight." In its earliest known English uses in the 1300s, "impugn" could refer to a physical attack (as in, "the troops impugned the city") as well as to figurative assaults involving verbal contradiction or dispute. Over time, though, the sense of physical battling has become obsolete and the "calling into question" sense has predominated. As you might expect, "pugnare" also gave English other fighting words, including "repugnant" and "pugnacity."

Word Family Quiz: What is the meaning of "inexpugnable"? The answer is ...

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