im·​per·​vi·​ous | \ (ˌ)im-ˈpər-vē-əs How to pronounce impervious (audio) \

Definition of impervious

1a : not allowing entrance or passage : impenetrable a coat impervious to rain
b : not capable of being damaged or harmed a carpet impervious to rough treatment
2 : not capable of being affected or disturbed impervious to criticism

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Other Words from impervious

imperviously adverb
imperviousness noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for impervious



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Did You Know?

The English language is far from impervious, and, of course, a great many Latinate terms have entered it throughout its history. Impervious is one of the many that broke through in the 17th century. It comes from the Latin impervius, which adds the prefix im- to pervius, meaning "passable" or "penetrable." Pervius-which is also the source of the relatively uncommon English word pervious, meaning "accessible" or "permeable"-comes from per-, meaning "through," and via, meaning "way."

Examples of impervious in a Sentence

He looked at her, impervious to her tears … — Jean Stafford, Children Are Bored on Sunday, (1945) 1953 … the trunk … is encased in so hard a bark, as to be almost impervious to a bullet … — Herman Melville, Omoo, 1847 … Berlin struck me, above all, as impervious to any political reactions whatever … — Stephen Spender, New York Times Magazine, 30 Oct.1977 the material for this coat is supposed to be impervious to rain the rain forest is impervious to all but the most dedicated explorers
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Recent Examples on the Web Is thick cloth more impervious to airborne viruses…or... Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Do DIY Masks Help Stop Coronavirus?," 24 Apr. 2020 But the news nevertheless rattled our perceptions that athletes are somehow impervious to these things -- more likely to tweak hamstrings or strain calves than be sucked into a global pandemic. George Ramsay, CNN, "Leagues postponed, athletes infected -- coronavirus plunges sport into the twilight zone," 12 Mar. 2020 The stone-faced Duncan was impervious to trash talk. Jeff Mcdonald,, "21 for 21: Celebrating certain Hall of Famer Tim Duncan," 3 Apr. 2020 That's okay, though, because Chevy engineers designed their car to be impervious to both rain water and carwash stupidity. Eric Tingwall, Car and Driver, "No, the Chevrolet Corvette Does Not Have a Water-Leak Problem," 25 Mar. 2020 Nagaoka envisioned would be impervious to arrangement, hence the sliding tile angle. Caroline Delbert, Popular Mechanics, "Scientists Finally Observe Long-Predicted Form of Magnetism," 6 Mar. 2020 There were times earlier in his career when Woods seemed almost impervious to that kind of adulation. Brian Costa, WSJ, "Brooks Koepka Wins the PGA Championship," 12 Aug. 2018 That has meant diamonds, notoriously impervious to price changes, have seen some declines from the lack of demand from consumers and retailers. Sarah Min, CBS News, "You can put a ring on it for cheaper this engagement season," 6 Dec. 2019 The Wolverines are now a fearsome, and sometimes impervious, bunch. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football's defense regrouped after Wisconsin loss, back to dominating," 2 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impervious.' 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 impervious

1615, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for impervious

Latin impervius, from in- + pervius pervious

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Time Traveler for impervious

Time Traveler

The first known use of impervious was in 1615

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Statistics for impervious

Last Updated

9 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impervious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 31 May. 2020.

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More Definitions for impervious


How to pronounce impervious (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of impervious

technical : not allowing something (such as water or light) to enter or pass through
formal : not bothered or affected by something


im·​per·​vi·​ous | \ im-ˈpər-vē-əs How to pronounce impervious (audio) \

Kids Definition of impervious

1 : not letting something enter or pass through The coat is impervious to rain.
2 : not bothered or affected by something He's impervious to their criticism.


im·​per·​vi·​ous | \ (ˈ)im-ˈpər-vē-əs How to pronounce impervious (audio) \

Medical Definition of impervious

: not allowing entrance or passage medication packaged in a container impervious to air and light

Other Words from impervious

imperviousness noun

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