importune was our Word of the Day on 09/19/2013. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of importune in a Sentence
He stood on the street corner, importuning passersby for help.
He importuned them to help.
Recent Examples of importune from the Web
Consider California Governor Jerry Brown, who is importuning the White House to yield oversight of his state’s bullet train.
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.
Did You Know?
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.
First Known Use of importune
call on (or upon);
Synonym Discussion of importune
- they begged for help
- entreated me to join them
- I beseech you to have mercy
- implored her not to leave him
- with bowed heads they supplicated their Lord
- we were adjured to tell the truth
- importuning viewers for contributions
IMPORTUNE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of importune for English Language Learners
: to ask (someone) for something or to do something in a repeated or annoying way
IMPORTUNE Defined for Kids
legal Definition of importune
- who solicits, requests, commands, importunes or intentionally aids another person to engage in conduct which constitutes an offense
- —General Statutes of Connecticut
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up importune? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).