op·​pugn ə-ˈpyün How to pronounce oppugn (audio)
oppugned; oppugning; oppugns

transitive verb

: to fight against
: to call into question
oppugner noun

Did you know?

Oppugn was first recorded in English in the 15th century. It came to Middle English from the Latin verb oppugnare, which in turn derived from the combination of ob-, meaning "against," and pugnare, meaning "to fight." Pugnare itself is descended from the same ancient word that gave Latin the word pugnus, meaning "fist." It's no surprise, then, that oppugn was adopted into English to refer to fighting against something or someone, either physically (as in "the dictatorship will oppugn all who oppose it") or verbally (as in "oppugn an argument"). Other descendants of pugnare in English include the equally aggressive pugnacious, impugn, repugnant, and the rare inexpugnable ("incapable of being subdued or overthrown").

Examples of oppugn in a Sentence

had the temerity to oppugn the merits of a study in a discipline that he knows nothing about guardians of liberty who staunchly oppugned tyranny, whether from the right or the left

Word History


Middle English oppugnen, opugnen "to attack, repudiate," borrowed from Middle French & Latin; Middle French oppugner "to attack, assault, attack the truth of," borrowed from Latin oppugnāre "to attack, assault, oppose in speech or action," from ob- ob- + pugnāre "to fight" — more at pungent

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of oppugn was in the 15th century


Dictionary Entries Near oppugn

Cite this Entry

“Oppugn.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/oppugn. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

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