per·​ti·​nent ˈpər-tə-nənt How to pronounce pertinent (audio)
: having a clear decisive relevance to the matter in hand
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
Recent Examples on the Web By both sides agreeing to do this now, the Hornets can jumpstart the process of sifting through candidates and gathering any pertinent intel before other teams start doing the same. Roderick Boone, Charlotte Observer, 4 Apr. 2024 In particular, the discourse within California regarding reparative justice serves as a pertinent example. Britney Porter, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 See all Example Sentences for pertinent 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pertinent.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near pertinent

Cite this Entry

“Pertinent.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


per·​ti·​nent ˈpərt-ᵊn-ənt How to pronounce pertinent (audio)
: having to do with the matter being thought about or discussed : relevant
a pertinent question
pertinently adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on pertinent

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