im·​per·​ti·​nent | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpər-tə-nənt How to pronounce impertinent (audio) , -ˈpərt-nənt \

Definition of impertinent

1a : given to or characterized by insolent rudeness an impertinent answer
b : not restrained within due or proper bounds especially of propriety or good taste impertinent curiosity
2 : not pertinent : irrelevant

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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

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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 Almost certain to be passed, especially after Facebook’s stunt, its broad support across the political spectrum has been shored up by perceptions of an impertinent Facebook testing the nation’s resolve. James Slezak, Wired, 23 Feb. 2021 Random pertinent and impertinent observations from a real basketball game! Scott Ostler,, 12 Dec. 2020 An informer comes to tell Mr. Hayat that people are beginning to wonder about the foreigner who is asking impertinent questions. Bernard-henri Lévy, WSJ, 9 Oct. 2020 Most of us experience these unhappy musings but can dismiss them as unreasonable and therefore impertinent. Barrett Swanson, Harper's Magazine, 23 June 2020 Making matters worse, Pires handed the court a letter from the Portuguese sovereign, King Manuel I, that the Chinese found impertinent. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 6 June 2020 Much of his energy was devoted to dodging impertinent questions, of which there were many. The Economist, 3 Oct. 2019 But, at the risk of being impertinent, Toyoda-San: Why isn’t that figure 100%? WSJ, 19 Apr. 2019 During last year’s Himalayan standoff, the same newspaper launched a series of diatribes against impertinent India. Sadanand Dhume, WSJ, 3 May 2018

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

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Impertinent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Jun. 2021.

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More Definitions for impertinent



English Language Learners Definition of impertinent

formal : rude and showing a lack of respect


im·​per·​ti·​nent | \ im-ˈpər-tə-nənt How to pronounce impertinent (audio) \

Kids Definition of impertinent

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

More from Merriam-Webster on impertinent

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impertinent

Nglish: Translation of impertinent for Spanish Speakers


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