importune

verb
im·​por·​tune | \ˌim-pər-ˈtün, -ˈtyün;im-ˈpȯr-ˌt(y)ün, -chən\
importuned; importuning

Definition of importune 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to press or urge with troublesome persistence

b archaic : to request or beg for urgently

2 : annoy, trouble

intransitive verb

: to beg, urge, or solicit persistently or troublesomely

importune

adjective

Definition of importune (Entry 2 of 2)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from importune

Verb

importuner noun

Adjective

importunely adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for importune

Verb

beg, entreat, beseech, implore, supplicate, adjure, importune mean to ask urgently. beg suggests earnestness or insistence in the asking. they begged for help entreat implies an effort to persuade or to overcome resistance. entreated me to join them beseech and implore imply a deeply felt anxiety. I beseech you to have mercy implored her not to leave him supplicate suggests a posture of humility. with bowed heads they supplicated their Lord adjure implies advising as well as pleading. we were adjured to tell the truth importune suggests an annoying persistence in trying to break down resistance to a request. importuning viewers for contributions

Did You Know?

Adjective

Importune has many synonyms-including "beg," "entreat," "beseech," and "implore." "Beg" suggests earnestness or insistence especially in asking for a favor ("the children begged to stay up late"). "Entreat" implies an effort to persuade or to overcome resistance ("she entreated him to change his mind"). "Beseech" implies great eagerness or anxiety ("I beseech you to have mercy"), and "implore" adds to "beseech" a suggestion of greater urgency or anguished appeal ("he implored her not to leave him"). But it is "importune" that best conveys irritating doggedness in trying to break down resistance to a request and the accompanying annoyance ("the filmmakers were importuning viewers for contributions"), as it has since Middle English speakers adopted it from Anglo-French in the 15th century.

Examples of importune in a Sentence

Verb

He stood on the street corner, importuning passersby for help. He importuned them to help.

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Consider California Governor Jerry Brown, who is importuning the White House to yield oversight of his state’s bullet train. WSJ, "California’s Runaway Train," 16 May 2017

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

First Known Use of importune

Verb

1530, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Adjective

15th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for importune

Adjective

Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French importun, from Latin importunus, from in- + -portunus (as in opportunus fit) — more at opportune

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about importune

Listen to Our Podcast about importune

Statistics for importune

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for importune

The first known use of importune was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for importune

importune

verb

English Language Learners Definition of importune

: to ask (someone) for something or to do something in a repeated or annoying way

importune

verb
im·​por·​tune | \ˌim-pər-ˈtün, -ˈtyün\
importuned; importuning

Kids Definition of importune

: to beg or urge in a repeated or annoying way Salesmen importuned us to buy.

importune

verb
im·​por·​tune | \ˌim-pȯr-ˈtün, -ˈtyün; im-ˈpȯr-ˌtyün, -chən\
importuned; importuning

Legal Definition of importune 

transitive verb

: to press or urge with troublesome persistence who solicits, requests, commands, importunes or intentionally aids another person to engage in conduct which constitutes an offenseGeneral Statutes of Connecticut

intransitive verb

: to beg, urge, or press another persistently or troublesomely — compare coerce, solicit

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on importune

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with importune

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for importune

Spanish Central: Translation of importune

Nglish: Translation of importune for Spanish Speakers

Comments on importune

What made you want to look up importune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to make faulty or ineffective

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!