im·​per·​ti·​nent | \(ˌ)im-ˈpər-tə-nənt, -ˈpərt-nənt\

Definition of impertinent 

1 : not pertinent : irrelevant

2a : not restrained within due or proper bounds especially of propriety or good taste impertinent curiosity

b : given to or characterized by insolent rudeness an impertinent answer

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Other Words from impertinent

impertinently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for impertinent

impertinent, officious, meddlesome, intrusive, obtrusive mean given to thrusting oneself into the affairs of others. impertinent implies exceeding the bounds of propriety in showing interest or curiosity or in offering advice. resented their impertinent interference officious implies the offering of services or attentions that are unwelcome or annoying. officious friends made the job harder meddlesome stresses an annoying and usually prying interference in others' affairs. a meddlesome landlord intrusive implies a tactless or otherwise objectionable thrusting into others' affairs. tried to be helpful without being intrusive obtrusive stresses improper or offensive conspicuousness of interfering actions. expressed an obtrusive concern for his safety

Did You Know?

English speakers adopted both impertinent and pertinent from Anglo-French in the 14th century. Both words derive from the present participle of the Latin verb pertinēre, meaning "to pertain." Initially, impertinent was used for things that are simply not relevant. Over time, it came to be used of things that are not only irrelevant but rudely or inappropriately so, and later for people who are just straight-out rude.

Examples of impertinent in a Sentence

She asked a few impertinent questions. the impertinent child had a smart answer for everything

Recent Examples on the Web

During last year’s Himalayan standoff, the same newspaper launched a series of diatribes against impertinent India. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, "Modi Signals Weakness by Making Nice With China’s Xi," 3 May 2018 That hasn’t stopped some of the French press from gleefully speculating, led by Le Canard Enchaîné, the ever-impertinent satirical weekly. Adam Nossiter, New York Times, "Let Them Eat on Fancy Plates: Emmanuel Macron’s New China," 14 June 2018 In some programs, such an outspoken sophomore might be dismissed as impertinent. Childs Walker,, "Kaila Charles makes her voice heard as Maryland's next women's basketball star," 9 Mar. 2018 In the 35th year of its existence, the team most of America had dismissed as an impertinent wallflower is going dancing., "Chargers headed for Super Bowl," 16 Jan. 2018 Ron Livingston has built a career on playing the jerk who just can’t keep the impertinent thoughts percolating in his brain from spewing onto everyone in his path. Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times, "Ron Livingston Loves to Play the Jerk," 13 Oct. 2017 As Alanna Dale, Leah Strasser begins the show with a playful and impertinent monologue. David Lyman,, "'Marian or the True Tale of Robin Hood' a feather in Know Theatre's cap," 29 July 2017 RIO DE JANEIRO — Finally, after a week of the most impertinent questions possible, Thomas Bach, the embattled International Olympic Committee president, was about to field a friendly one on Thursday. Michael Powell, New York Times, "Olympic Officials Set Russia’s Roster; More Than 100 Are Barred for Doping AUG. 4, 2016," 4 Aug. 2016 These people, and the free press that serves them, have every right to demand answers to their questions, no matter how inconvenient or impertinent the President and his cabinet secretaries may find the queries. Errol Louis, CNN, "WV arrest casts a shadow over the Constitution," 12 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impertinent.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of impertinent

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for impertinent

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latin impertinent-, impertinens, from Latin in- + pertinent-, pertinens, present participle of pertinēre to pertain

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The first known use of impertinent was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for impertinent



English Language Learners Definition of impertinent

: rude and showing a lack of respect


im·​per·​ti·​nent | \im-ˈpər-tə-nənt \

Kids Definition of impertinent

: very rude : having or showing a lack of respect an impertinent question

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More from Merriam-Webster on impertinent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impertinent

Spanish Central: Translation of impertinent

Nglish: Translation of impertinent for Spanish Speakers

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