per·​ti·​nent | \ˈpər-tə-nənt, ˈpərt-nənt\

Definition of pertinent 

: having a clear decisive relevance to the matter in hand

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Other Words from pertinent

pertinently adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for pertinent

relevant, germane, material, pertinent, apposite, applicable, apropos mean relating to or bearing upon the matter in hand. relevant implies a traceable, significant, logical connection. found material relevant to her case germane may additionally imply a fitness for or appropriateness to the situation or occasion. a point not germane to the discussion material implies so close a relationship that it cannot be dispensed with without serious alteration of the case. facts material to the investigation pertinent stresses a clear and decisive relevance. a pertinent observation apposite suggests a felicitous relevance. add an apposite quotation to the definition applicable suggests the fitness of bringing a general rule or principle to bear upon a particular case. the rule is not applicable in this case apropos suggests being both relevant and opportune. the quip was apropos

Examples of pertinent in a Sentence

At the dawn of the common-law court system, jurors took their places as residents of the neighborhood where the pertinent events had occurred, who were assumed to possess special knowledge of the facts and, more important, of every witness's credibility. — Hiller B. Zobel, American Heritage, July/August 1995 A more pertinent question than "What am I?" is "How can I be who I am and still hack it in America?" — C. Eric Lincoln, Lure and Loathing, 1993 But as my moment of fame ticks by, a more pertinent issue persists: What hath CNN wrought in the worlds of communications, of diplomacy, of politics? — Peter Arnett, Washington Post, 25-31 Mar. 1991 No recurrent symbolism in the Odyssey is more pertinent than the long and deliberate stripping its hero undergoes: of his ships, of his men, of his hopes, of his clothes, even of his very skin on the cliffs of Corfu. — John Fowles, Island, 1978 he impressed the jury with his concise, pertinent answers to the attorney's questions
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Recent Examples on the Web

Democrats, though, have continued to interview people who may have pertinent information. Alex Ward, Vox, "Democrats won the House — and Trump’s foreign policy may be in trouble," 7 Nov. 2018 But the footnotes are just as likely to contain pertinent material that could have, should have been incorporated into the main body of the text rather than relegated to a dozen or more lines of tiny type. Dava Sobel, WSJ, "‘The Perfectionists’ Review: Two Cheers for Exactitude," 3 May 2018 To determine what project would be most welcomed and most pertinent to each neighborhood, Love's team communicates with the residents one-on one in different ways. Jennifer Conn, Akron Reporter,, "Knight Cities Challenge winner @PLAY asks North Akron residents to #CHIMEinAKRON (photos)," 29 Mar. 2018 The last pertinent example is Trump's handling of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "Here’s what we know about Trump the diplomat ahead of his Kim Jong Un meeting," 9 Mar. 2018 These warnings are especially pertinent for members of at-risk groups. Jordan Cutler-tietjen, sacbee, "Here's the air quality outlook for July 4 and beyond, amid Northern California wildfires," 3 July 2018 By January 2018, my sons were proudly standing up alongside their best girlfriend in New York City during the second Women’s March, which felt increasingly pertinent in the wake of #MeToo. Nicole Mann Novick, Glamour, "As a ‘90s Teen, I Craved a Movement. As a Mom of Two, I Don’t Want It Anymore," 20 Apr. 2018 The wider point our ex-editor was making, though, is pertinent. The Economist, "A paradox at the heart of gift-giving," 28 June 2018 Just as pertinent, though, is the movie’s efforts to understand how memory gets papered over, and how people can explain away their most obvious suffering, even to themselves. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Tale Is a Searing Investigation of Past Abuse," 25 May 2018

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

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First Known Use of pertinent

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pertinent

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin pertinent-, pertinens, present participle of pertinēre — see pertain

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Statistics for pertinent

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for pertinent

The first known use of pertinent was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for pertinent



English Language Learners Definition of pertinent

: relating to the thing that is being thought about or discussed


per·​ti·​nent | \ˈpər-tə-nənt \

Kids Definition of pertinent

: relating to the subject that is being thought about or discussed : relevant a pertinent question

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Comments on pertinent

What made you want to look up pertinent? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


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