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

Example Sentences

people often impute his silence to unfriendliness and not to the shyness it really represents
Recent Examples on the Web These results indicate that women and men impute gender to numbers in different ways and to different extents. Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 4 Aug. 2017 This has important implications to autoimmune studies that plan to impute the classical HLA alleles to fine map the SNP association signals. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 27 July 2011 To ensure that the estimate was as accurate as possible, the researchers used statistical methods to impute what the races would likely be for children whose races were marked as unknown. Agnel Philip, ProPublica, 8 Dec. 2022 Significantly, the court refused to impute to those five tokens the core features of the Bix token and, therefore, all of the claims related to those five tokens were dismissed. Andrea Tinianow, Forbes, 7 May 2021 Once those videoconference recordings are handed over, whoever combs through them will have a great opportunity to look for comments that sound bad, admissions, and statements that might be used to impute bad motivations. Joshua Stein, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2021 If Trump voters are more likely to hang up on pollsters, then how should a forecast impute the preferences of non-respondents? Aditya Kotak, Quartz, 12 Nov. 2020 The same petrifying dreadfulness marks those intermittent engravings which impute monstrousness—embodied by eruptive owls or witches—to the dreaming states of the putatively rational. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, 14 Sep. 2020 The worst of religious conservatism is on cable news imputing to Trump an almost-Constantinian prestige, uniting nationalist fervor with religious revivalism. Andrew T. Walker, National Review, 10 Feb. 2020 See More

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.

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 4 Feb. 2023.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on impute

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