impunity

noun
im·​pu·​ni·​ty | \ im-ˈpyü-nə-tē How to pronounce impunity (audio) \

Definition of impunity

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

Synonyms for impunity

Synonyms

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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. An illustrative example from 1660 penned by Englishman Roger Coke reads: "This unlimited power of doing anything with impunity, will only beget a confidence in kings of doing what they [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: "The local hollies seem to have lots of berries this year.… A single one won't harm you, but eating a handful would surely make you pretty sick, and might kill you. Birds such as robins, mockingbirds, and cedar waxwings eat them with impunity." (Karl Anderson, The Gloucester County Times, 22 Dec. 2002).

Examples of impunity in a Sentence

she mistakenly believed that she could insult people with impunity
Recent Examples on the Web Because abusive or bigoted speech usually comes with social or professional consequences in the real world — and on social networks that practice content moderation — any site that touts impunity quickly becomes a magnet for it. Washington Post, 30 Apr. 2022 Because abusive or bigoted speech usually comes with social or professional consequences in the real world - and on social networks that practice content moderation - any site that touts impunity quickly becomes a magnet for it. Will Oremus, Anchorage Daily News, 30 Apr. 2022 But based on how the 76ers attacked the rim with impunity on when Morris played as small ball center on Monday night, there certainly could be some tinkering there from Spoelstra in that regard. Ira Winderman, Sun Sentinel, 27 Apr. 2022 The reporting found that officers often needlessly put themselves in danger and then received legal impunity. New York Times, 27 Apr. 2022 Oklahoma says the High Court’s 2020 ruling in McGirt has given criminals impunity in half the state. The Editorial Board, WSJ, 24 Apr. 2022 Yes, that was the kid who used to peg his siblings with impunity tugging the green jacket over his broad shoulders after winning the Masters on Sunday afternoon. Will Graves, Chron, 11 Apr. 2022 To legitimate the control machine in Palestine, the British raked their empire again, this time for ways of securing legal impunity. The New Yorker, 28 Mar. 2022 But based on how the 76ers attacked the rim with impunity on when Morris played as small ball center on Monday night, there certainly could be some tinkering there from Spoelstra in that regard. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, 25 Mar. 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of impunity

1532, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for impunity

Middle French or Latin; Middle French impunité, from Latin impunitat-, impunitas, from impune without punishment, from in- + poena punishment — more at pain entry 1

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The first known use of impunity was in 1532

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Dictionary Entries Near impunity

impunibly

impunity

impure

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Last Updated

6 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Impunity.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impunity. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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Nglish: Translation of impunity for Spanish Speakers

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