adjective im·per·ti·nent \ (ˌ)im-ˈpər-tə-nənt , -ˈpərt-nənt \
|Updated on: 31 Jul 2018

Definition of impertinent

1 : not pertinent : irrelevant
2 a : 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



impertinent was our Word of the Day on 05/28/2007. Hear the podcast!

Examples of impertinent in a Sentence

  1. She asked a few impertinent questions.

  2. the impertinent child had a smart answer for everything

Recent Examples of impertinent from the Web

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.

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.

Origin and Etymology of impertinent

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

Synonym Discussion of 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

IMPERTINENT Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of impertinent for English Language Learners

  • : rude and showing a lack of respect

IMPERTINENT Defined for Kids


adjective im·per·ti·nent \ im-ˈpər-tə-nənt \

Definition of impertinent for Students

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

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excessive admiration or flattery

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