impunity

noun im·pu·ni·ty \ im-ˈpyü-nə-tē \
Updated on: 19 Nov 2017

Definition of impunity

: exemption or freedom from punishment, harm, or loss
  • laws were flouted with impunity

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Examples of impunity in a Sentence

  1. she mistakenly believed that she could insult people with impunity

Recent Examples of impunity from the Web

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

Did You Know?

Impunity (like the words pain, penal, and punish) traces to the Latin noun poena, meaning "punishment." The Latin word, in turn, came from Greek poinē, meaning "payment" or "penalty." People acting with impunity have prompted use of the word since the 1500s, as in this 1660 example by Englishman Roger Coke: "This unlimited power of doing anything with impunity, will only beget a confidence in kings of doing what they list [desire]." While royals may act with impunity more easily than others, the word impunity can be applied to the lowliest of beings as well as the loftiest: "Certain beetles have learned to detoxify [willow] leaves in their digestive tract so they can eat them with impunity" (Smithsonian, September 1986).

Origin and Etymology of impunity

Middle French or Latin; Middle French impunité, from Latin impunitat-, impunitas, from impune without punishment, from in- + poena punishment — more at pain

IMPUNITY Defined for English Language Learners

impunity

noun

Definition of impunity for English Language Learners

  • : freedom from punishment, harm, or loss



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