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

Nothing in this report impugns the integrity with our workforce as a whole or the FBI as an institution. Amber Phillips, Washington Post, "How Rosenstein and Wray’s testimony undermined GOP efforts to undermine the Russia investigation," 28 June 2018 The first time Donald Trump publicly impugned the reputation of former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe was about three months after the bureau had begun investigating links between Trump’s campaign and Russian interference efforts. Philip Bump, Washington Post, "Trump defenders’ efforts to cast Mueller as tainted are gaining urgency," 17 Mar. 2018 The tweets contained sensitive information and impugned current and former Sixers, as well as other NBA personnel, so Colangelo resigned. Marcus Hayes,, "David Stern offers views on LeBron James, Donald Trump and national anthem protests | Marcus Hayes," 28 June 2018 But Haspel had wanted to avoid saying it publicly, for fear of impugning the many people who still work at CIA who had some involvement with the post 9/11 program. NBC News, "CIA nominee Gina Haspel now agency shouldn't have tortured terror suspects," 15 May 2018 Nothing in the IG’s report impugns the integrity of our workforce as a whole, or the FBI as an institution. James Freeman, WSJ, "FBI Bias Training," 19 June 2018 This destruction of evidence, this obstruction of justice, impugned Colangelo more than anything else that came to light. Marcus Hayes,, "Could Bryan Colangelo have saved his job if he handled Twittergate differently, throwing his wife under the bus? | Marcus Hayes," 9 June 2018 Any male cyclist who’s been on the receiving end of harassment knows it’s always about impugning your masculinity. Eben Weiss, Outside Online, "No, Cycling Isn't Elitist," 5 July 2018 Material posted on Sarawak Bersatu, and on a related Twitter feed, impugned the motives and the reporting practices of Rewcastle Brown and called her an agent of British socialism. Ed Caesar, The New Yorker, "The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation," 25 May 2018

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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Time Traveler for impugn

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on impugn

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impugn

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impugn

Spanish Central: Translation of impugn

Nglish: Translation of impugn for Spanish Speakers

Comments on impugn

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


of or relating to a parable or parabola

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