Definition of oppugn
1 : to fight against
2 : to call in question
oppugn was our Word of the Day on 03/22/2012. Hear the podcast!
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
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").
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