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[im-pur-tn-uh nt] /ɪmˈpɜr tn ənt/
intrusive or presumptuous, as persons or their actions; insolently rude; uncivil:
a brash, impertinent youth.
not pertinent or relevant; irrelevant:
an impertinent detail.
Archaic. inappropriate, incongruous, or absurd.
Obsolete. (of persons) trivial, silly, or absurd.
Origin of impertinent
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin impertinent- (stem of impertinēns) not belonging. See im-2, pertinent
Related forms
impertinently, adverb
impertinentness, noun
unimpertinent, adjective
unimpertinently, adverb
1. fresh, bold, insulting, officious, saucy, pert, brazen. Impertinent, impudent, insolent refer to bold, rude, and arrogant behavior. Impertinent, from its primary meaning of not pertinent and hence inappropriate or out of place, has come to imply often an unseemly intrusion into what does not concern one, or a presumptuous rudeness toward one entitled to deference or respect: an impertinent interruption, question, manner toward a teacher. Impudent suggests a bold and shameless impertinence: an impudent speech, young rascal. Insolent suggests insulting or arrogantly contemptuous behavior: unbearably insolent toward those in authority.
1. polite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for impertinent
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • "None of your impertinent insinuations, you young rascal," said Mr. Davis, hotly.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • He gave me some impertinent advice, and, because I did not care to take it, he struck me.

    Brave and Bold Horatio Alger
  • We could have done very well without your impertinent opera.

  • At all events such a dream is much better than to steal sugar and to be impertinent.

    The Dream Emile Zola
  • impertinent curiosity, by the way, we rarely meet with in France.

    In the Heart of Vosges Matilda Betham-Edwards
British Dictionary definitions for impertinent


rude; insolent; impudent
irrelevant or inappropriate
Derived Forms
impertinently, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin impertinēns not belonging, from Latin im- (not) + pertinēre to be relevant; see pertain
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
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Word Origin and History for impertinent

late 14c., "unconnected, unrelated, not to the point," from Old French impertinent (14c.) or directly from Late Latin impertinentem (nominative impertinens) "not belonging," literally "not to the point," from assimilated form of Latin in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + pertinens (see pertinent). Sense of "rudely bold" is 1680s, from earlier sense of "not appropriate to the situation," probably modeled on similar use in French, especially by Molière, from notion of meddling with what is beyond one's proper sphere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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