Word of the Day : November 24, 2011

impute

play
verb im-PYOOT

Definition

1 : to lay the responsibility or blame for often falsely or unjustly

2 : to credit to a person or a cause

Did You Know?

"Impute" is a somewhat formal word that is used to suggest that someone or something has or is guilty of something. It is similar in meaning to such words as "ascribe" and "attribute," though it is more likely to suggest an association with something that brings discredit. When we "impute" something, we typically impute it to someone or something. You may also encounter the related noun "imputation," which appears in such contexts as "I deny all your imputations of blame."


Examples

"My enemies have tried to impute sinister motives to my actions," said the politician, "but I assure the voters that I have always placed their interests first and foremost."

"Rosenberg wants us to let go of the many illusions that define our conversations about life and science. We impute purpose to things that lack it. We act as though history and culture can be explained in terms of sweeping, general patterns." -- From a book review by Jesse Singal in The Boston Globe, October 20, 2011



Test Your Memory

What recent Word of the Day refers to an ancient Mesopotamian temple tower? The answer is...


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!