What It Means
1 a : to press or urge with troublesome persistence
b archaic : to request or beg for urgently
"[Sarah] Polk feigned neutrality or loyalty, depending on what suited her, and she successfully importuned Andrew Johnson, the military governor of Tennessee and then American president, to pardon ex-rebels or to grant such favors as being able to sell her cotton untaxed." — Megan Reynolds, Jezebel, 3 June 2019
"For nearly 40 years, Houstonian Jimmy Dunne has importuned Texas lawmakers to ban corporal punishment in Texas public schools, to no avail." — The Houston Chronicle, 18 Mar. 2019
Did You Know?
Importune has many synonyms—including beg, entreat, beseech, and implore. Beg suggests earnestness or insistence especially in asking for a favor ("the children begged to stay up late"). Entreat implies an effort to persuade or to overcome resistance ("she entreated him to change his mind"). Beseech implies great eagerness or anxiety ("I beseech you to have mercy"), and implore adds to beseech a suggestion of greater urgency or anguished appeal ("he implored her not to leave him"). But it is importune that best conveys irritating doggedness in trying to break down resistance to a request and the accompanying annoyance ("the filmmakers were importuning viewers for contributions"), as it has since Middle English speakers adopted it from Anglo-French.
Test Your Vocabulary with M-W Quizzes
Name That Synonym
Unscramble the letters to create a synonym of importune meaning "to press with requests": EESEBGI.VIEW THE ANSWER
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