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[im-pawr-toon, -tyoon, im-pawr-chuh n] /ˌɪm pɔrˈtun, -ˈtyun, ɪmˈpɔr tʃən/
verb (used with object), importuned, importuning.
to press or beset with solicitations; demand with urgency or persistence.
to make improper advances toward (a person).
to beg for (something) urgently or persistently.
Obsolete. to annoy.
Obsolete. to press; impel.
verb (used without object), importuned, importuning.
to make urgent or persistent solicitations.
to make improper advances toward another person.
Origin of importune
1350-1400; Middle English (adj.) < Latin importūnus unsuitable, troublesome, relentless; see im-2, opportune
Related forms
importunely, adverb
importuner, noun
unimportuned, adjective
1, 3. beseech, entreat, implore, supplicate, solicit. 6. plead. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for importuning
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • After you have given your final decision to my importuning, there can be no further appeal.

    Flamsted quarries Mary E. Waller
  • I now remember that for a year past you have been importuning me about this!

    The Daughter of an Empress Louise Muhlbach
  • Basil was importuning his companion on some matter which the latter could not hear.

    Under the Witches' Moon Nathan Gallizier
  • Instantly the importuning began, everybody crowding about her.

    The Arm-Chair at the Inn F. Hopkinson Smith
  • I saw I advanced nothing by importuning her, and I let the matter rest.

    The History of Prostitution William W. Sanger
  • It must be confest, Damon, that you are the most importuning Man in the World.

  • New Orleans was importuning Congress to support it in an Exposition.

    Port O' Gold

    Louis John Stellman
  • Waiters circle among the dancers, importuning them to drink.

    What eight million women want Rheta Childe Dorr
  • A great many wooers were importuning her, among whom a certain Alfvine, a great champion and man-slayer.

    The Story of Norway Hjalmar H. Boyesen
British Dictionary definitions for importuning


verb (transitive)
to harass with persistent requests; demand of (someone) insistently
to beg for persistently; request with insistence
  1. to anger or annoy
  2. to force; impel
Derived Forms
importuner, noun
importunity, importunacy, noun
Word Origin
C16: from Latin importūnus tiresome, from im-in-1 + -portūnus as in opportūnusopportune
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 importuning



1520s, back-formation from importunity, or else from Middle French importuner, from Medieval Latin importunari "to make oneself troublesome," from Latin importunus "unfit, troublesome," originally "having no harbor" (i.e. "difficult to access"), from assimilated form of in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + portus "harbor" (see port (n.1)). Related: Importuned; importuning. As an adjective from early 15c.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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