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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. 2016.
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Examples from the Web for impertinently
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Here, on a little spinning, askew-axised thing we call a planet—(impertinently enough, since we are far more planetary ourselves).

  • I intend to be inquisitorial, as the committee say they are,--but not impertinently so.

    Slavery Ordained of God Rev. Fred A. Ross, D.D.
  • Richard Travis was in a jolly mood at the supper table that night, and Harry became jolly also, impertinently so.

    The Bishop of Cottontown John Trotwood Moore
  • Never afterwards did they venture to look at her impertinently.

  • Mr Arnold followed my example; but looked at me, I do not know how—impertinently—as if he thought I did not dislike him.

  • Beyle was ever curious, impertinently so—the Paul Pry of psychologists.

    Egoists James Huneker
  • She meant to be impertinently curious, just as such an Anne Cox should be.

    Emma Jane Austen
  • "Which means—" the Chief said, impertinently, while White Buffalo bit his lips.

    The Prairie Flower Gustave Aimard
  • “I don't know what you mean by likely,” Maria said, impertinently, in her shame and defiance.

    By the Light of the Soul Mary E. Wilkins Freeman
British Dictionary definitions for impertinently


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 impertinently

mid-15c., from impertinent + -ly (2).



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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