verb im·pute \ im-ˈpyüt \
Updated on: 5 Jan 2018

Definition of impute

imputed; imputing
transitive verb
1 : to lay the responsibility or blame for often falsely or unjustly
2 : to credit to a person or a cause : attribute
  • our vices as well as our virtues have been imputed to bodily derangement
  • —B. N. Cardozo


play \im-ˌpyü-tə-ˈbi-lə-tē\ noun


play \im-ˈpyü-tə-bəl\ adjective

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Examples of impute in a Sentence

  1. people often impute his silence to unfriendliness and not to the shyness it really represents

Recent Examples of impute from the Web

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

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."

Origin and Etymology of impute

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

impute Synonyms

Synonym Discussion of 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

IMPUTE Defined for English Language Learners



Definition of impute for English Language Learners

  • : to say or suggest that someone or something has or is guilty of (something)

Law Dictionary


transitive verb im·pute \ im-ˈpyüt \

legal Definition of impute

imputed; imputing
1 : 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
2 in the civil law of Louisiana : to direct (payment) to principal or interest
3 : to attribute to a party especially because of responsibility for another
  • impute knowledge to his corporate superior


play \ˌim-pyə-ˈtā-shən\ noun

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to cause to suffer severely from hunger

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