im·​pute im-ˈpyüt How to pronounce impute (audio)
imputed; imputing

transitive verb

: to lay the responsibility or blame for (something) often falsely or unjustly
The economic sins imputed to Tito had all been committed to a greater extent by the communist parties of neighbouring countries.Hugh Seton-Watson
: to credit or ascribe (something) to a person or a cause : attribute
our vices as well as our virtues have been imputed to bodily derangementB. N. Cardozo
imputability noun
imputable adjective

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Put the Valuable Impute Into Your Vocabulary

Impute is a somewhat formal word that is used to suggest that someone or something has done or is guilty of something. It is similar in meaning to such words as ascribe and attribute, though it is more likely to suggest an association with something that brings discredit. When we impute something, we typically impute it to someone or something. You may also encounter the related noun imputation, which appears in such contexts as "I deny all your imputations of blame." Another sense of impute means "to calculate as a value or cost (as for taxation)," as in "impute a benefit from the use of the car."

Choose the Right Synonym for impute

ascribe, attribute, assign, impute, credit mean to lay something to the account of a person or thing.

ascribe suggests an inferring or conjecturing of cause, quality, authorship.

forged paintings formerly ascribed to masters

attribute suggests less tentativeness than ascribe, less definiteness than assign.

attributed to Rembrandt but possibly done by an associate

assign implies ascribing with certainty or after deliberation.

assigned the bones to the Cretaceous period

impute suggests ascribing something that brings discredit by way of accusation or blame.

tried to impute sinister motives to my actions

credit implies ascribing a thing or especially an action to a person or other thing as its agent, source, or explanation.

credited his teammates for his success

Examples of impute in a Sentence

people often impute his silence to unfriendliness and not to the shyness it really represents
Recent Examples on the Web With its decision, the court has ruled that legal gun ownership can’t be used to impute unlawful intentions, a powerful assertion of gun rights in Florida. Silas Morgan, Sun Sentinel, 17 Jan. 2024 The rest of what Trump did involved ostensibly legitimate actions (e.g., exhorting state and federal officials to probe possible election fraud) that Biden Justice Department prosecutors have been trying for years to turn into crimes by imputing corrupt intent. Andrew C. McCarthy, National Review, 13 Jan. 2024 The opinions expressed are solely his and should not be imputed to any other individual nor to any public or private entities. Mitchell Berger, STAT, 11 July 2023 Ferrara seems no smarter than those peasants when his film implies very contemporary fascist/socialist confusion and imputes partisan accusations. Armond White, National Review, 2 June 2023 See all Example Sentences for impute 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'impute.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Middle English, from Anglo-French imputer, from Latin imputare, from in- + putare to consider

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of impute was in the 14th century


Dictionary Entries Near impute

Cite this Entry

“Impute.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


im·​pute im-ˈpyüt How to pronounce impute (audio)
imputed; imputing
: to give the blame or credit for to some person or cause
imputable adjective

Legal Definition


transitive verb
im·​pute im-ˈpyüt How to pronounce impute (audio)
imputed; imputing
: to consider or calculate as a value or cost (as for taxation)
broadly : to reckon as an actual thing
impute a benefit from the use of the car
in the civil law of Louisiana : to direct (payment) to principal or interest
: to attribute to a party especially because of responsibility for another
impute knowledge to his corporate superior
imputation noun

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