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 Its previous owners had described being driven away by coruscating spheres, exsanguinated cattle, and wolflike creatures impervious to gunshots. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, "How the Pentagon Started Taking U.F.O.s Seriously," 30 Apr. 2021 Under the new shoreline protection ordinance, a property owner would be required to construct a berm or swale system when adding an impervious service of 500 square feet or more, such as a patio or structure, near a water body. Martin E. Comas,, "Seminole enacts regulations to protect lake shorelines," 30 Apr. 2021 Simultaneously, there is another physiological reaction called an analgesic response, which makes the body more impervious to pain. Sandee Lamotte, CNN, "Why swearing is a sign of intelligence, helps manage pain and more," 21 Apr. 2021 In an effort to boost the players’ performance, Lasso hires a sports psychologist (Sarah Niles), who appears impervious to his optimistic charm and refuses to eat sugar. Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, "Season 2 of ‘Ted Lasso’ is coming soon to Apple TV+. Watch the feel-good trailer," 20 Apr. 2021 Doctors are thought of as being impervious to the tumult of a demanding profession, but many of them are close to mental and emotional exhaustion, even when there isn’t a deadly virus on the loose. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, "A Doctor’s Dark Year," 20 Apr. 2021 Now we’re being informed, with all manner of dread and alarm, that new strains of the virus are coming that may be impervious to current vaccines. WSJ, "How Important Is Herd Immunity to Covid?," 2 Apr. 2021 For use in a bathroom, where walls can get steamy or wet, there is special moisture-resistant MDF beadboard and beadboard planks made of PVC or other types of vinyl, which is impervious to moisture damage. Washington Post, "How to paint wainscoting that has tiny grooves," 29 Mar. 2021 So, can culture also become impervious to attempts to change it? Chris White, Forbes, "Unblocking Organizations: How To Create Change As Leaders," 6 Apr. 2021

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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Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Impervious.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for impervious



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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