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impact

[noun im-pakt; verb im-pakt]
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noun
  1. the striking of one thing against another; forceful contact; collision: The impact of the colliding cars broke the windshield.
  2. an impinging: the impact of light on the eye.
  3. influence; effect: the impact of Einstein on modern physics.
  4. an impacting; forcible impinging: the tremendous impact of the shot.
  5. the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology: the impact of the industrial revolution.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to drive or press closely or firmly into something; pack in.
  2. to fill up; congest; throng: A vast crowd impacted St. Peter's Square.
  3. to collide with; strike forcefully: a rocket designed to impact the planet Mars.
  4. to have an impact or effect on; influence; alter: The decision may impact your whole career. The auto industry will be impacted by the new labor agreements.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to have impact or make contact forcefully: The ball impacted against the bat with a loud noise.
  2. to have an impact or effect: Increased demand will impact on sales.
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Origin of impact

First recorded in 1775–85; (noun and v.) back formation from impacted
Related formsnon·im·pact, noun, adjectivepost·im·pact, adjective

Usage note

The verb impact has developed the transitive sense “to have an impact or effect on” ( The structured reading program has done more to impact the elementary schools than any other single factor ) and the intransitive sense “to have an impact or effect” ( The work done at the computer center will impact on the economy of Illinois and the nation ). Although recent, the new uses are entirely standard and most likely to occur in formal speech and writing. See also impactful.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for impact

impact

noun (ˈɪmpækt)
  1. the act of one body, object, etc, striking another; collision
  2. the force with which one thing hits another or with which two objects collide
  3. the impression made by an idea, cultural movement, social group, etcthe impact of the Renaissance on Medieval Europe
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verb (ɪmˈpækt)
  1. to drive or press (an object) firmly into (another object, thing, etc) or (of two objects) to be driven or pressed firmly together
  2. to have an impact or strong effect (on)
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Derived Formsimpaction, noun

Word Origin

C18: from Latin impactus pushed against, fastened on, from impingere to thrust at, from pangere to drive in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for impact

v.

c.1600, "press closely into something," from Latin impactus, past participle of impingere "to push into, dash against, thrust at" (see impinge). Originally sense preserved in impacted teeth (1876). Sense of "strike forcefully against something" first recorded 1916. Figurative sense of "have a forceful effect on" is from 1935. Related: Impacting.

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n.

1781, "collision," from impact (v.). Figurative sense of "forceful impression" is from 1817 (Coleridge).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper