impugn

verb
im·​pugn | \ im-ˈpyün How to pronounce impugn (audio) \
impugned; impugning; impugns

Definition of impugn

transitive verb

1 : to assail by words or arguments : oppose or attack as false or lacking integrity impugned the defendant's character
2 obsolete
a : assail
b : resist

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Other Words from impugn

impugnable \ im-​ˈpyü-​nə-​bəl How to pronounce impugnable (audio) \ adjective
impugner \ im-​ˈpyü-​nər How to pronounce impugner (audio) \ noun

Did You Know?

When you impugn, you hazard repugnant pugnacity. More simply put, you risk insulting someone to the point where he or she wants to sock you. The belligerent implications of "impugn" are to be expected in a word that derives from the Latin verb pugnare, which means "to fight." In its earliest known English uses in the 1300s, "impugn" could refer to a physical attack (as in, "the troops impugned the city") as well as to figurative assaults involving verbal contradiction or dispute. Over time, though, the sense of physical battling has become obsolete and the "calling into question" sense has predominated. As you might expect, "pugnare" also gave English other fighting words, including "repugnant" and "pugnacity."

Examples of impugn in a Sentence

He impugned his rival's character. Her motives have been scrutinized and impugned.
Recent Examples on the Web Those numbers reflect the measures Bennett impugns as, pardon the term, overkill. Jonah Goldberg, National Review, "Cowardice Isn’t Driving the American Response to COVID-19," 17 Apr. 2020 Belichick and the Patriots got blasted in the court of public opinion and labeled deceitful scofflaws who impugned the integrity of the game and offended the sporting sensibilities of America. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Punishment for Astros shows MLB’s sign-stealing days are over — and the Red Sox are next," 13 Jan. 2020 Reliance on foreign and international law to achieve progressive ends would have to resort precisely to the sort of selective use of sources that critics of originalism impugn conservative judges for employing in domestic law. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, "‘Common-Good Constitutionalism’ Is No Alternative to Originalism," 2 Apr. 2020 China is waging an information war to whitewash its handling of the virus and impugn the U.S. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "Controlling the Virus Narrative," 22 Mar. 2020 Sign-stealing always has been part of the game, but modern technology has taken it to a new level that threatens to impugn the integrity of baseball. Paul Sullivan, chicagotribune.com, "Yu Darvish and Christian Yelich engage in a Twitter spat amid sign-stealing talk: ‘Nobody needs help facing you,’ the Brewers star tells the Cubs pitcher," 15 Nov. 2019 Besides, skeptics will not be able to impugn his scholarship for long. Lance Morrow, WSJ, "A Reckoning With Martin Luther King," 17 June 2019 Yet Geoffrey Cox, the attorney-general, declared that, although disagreeing with the judges was acceptable, impugning their motives was not. The Economist, "The Supreme Court puts more obstacles before Boris Johnson’s Brexit plan," 26 Sep. 2019 Some Republican senators have signed onto the idea of an extensive trial with the apparent aim of impugning the fairness of the House impeachment proceedings and attempting to tar the Bidens. oregonlive, "Senate impeachment trial is expected. How it will work is very uncertain," 15 Dec. 2019

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for impugn

Middle English, from Anglo-French empugner, from Latin inpugnare, from in- + pugnare to fight — more at pungent

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The first known use of impugn was in the 14th century

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Last Updated

26 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impugn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impugn. Accessed 2 Jul. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on impugn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impugn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impugn

Spanish Central: Translation of impugn

Nglish: Translation of impugn for Spanish Speakers

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