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  • importune
  • audio pronunciation
  • \im-per-TOON\
  • DEFINITION

verb

1
: to urge or beg with troublesome persistence
2
: annoy, trouble
  • EXAMPLES

A coalition of town residents, many of them cycling enthusiasts, importuned the mayor to approve funding for the construction of a new bike trail.

"Obsessed with finding money to purchase the land from the Turks and finance the emigration of Europe's Jews, Herzl personally importuned everyone from the wealthy Rothschilds to the German kaiser to help him in his quest." — From a movie review by Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times, August 17, 2012

  • 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.

Name That Synonym: What word has 7 letters, begins with "b," and can mean "to importune" or "to surround with armed forces"? The answer is …

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