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[im-pyoon] /ɪmˈpyun/
verb (used with object)
to challenge as false (another's statements, motives, etc.); cast doubt upon.
Archaic. to assail (a person) by words or arguments; vilify.
Obsolete. to attack (a person) physically.
Origin of impugn
1325-75; Middle English impugnen < Middle French impugner < Latin impugnāre to attack, equivalent to im- im-1 + pugnāre to fight, derivative of pugnus fist; see pugnacious
Related forms
impugnable, adjective
impugnability, noun
impugner, noun
impugnment, noun
unimpugnable, adjective
unimpugned, adjective
Can be confused
impugn, impute.
1. attack, asperse, malign, criticize, censure. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for impugn
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • If you do, he will have to swear to his words; and we are perfectly sure that no one will be found to impugn him.

    Theaetetus Plato
  • But as you are about to stake your life on the issue, I cannot impugn your sincerity.

    The Daltons, Volume I (of II) Charles James Lever
  • Neeld admitted that he had no reason to impugn the Major's character.

    Tristram of Blent Anthony Hope
  • I will not impugn the 174intelligence of this jury by a review of the evidence in so plain a case.

    The Hindered Hand Sutton E. Griggs
  • Not being able to impugn her beauty, they attacked her costume.

    Notre-Dame de Paris Victor Hugo
  • Your loyalty is very touching, dear child, and I would be the last to impugn it.

    The Fifth Ace

    Douglas Grant
  • "I am not attempting to impugn the qualifications of the witness," I snapped.

    ...Or Your Money Back Gordon Randall Garrett
  • I impugn neither his morality nor his motives—only his rationality.

    Theft Jack London
British Dictionary definitions for impugn


(transitive) to challenge or attack as false; assail; criticize
Derived Forms
impugnable, adjective
impugnation (ˌɪmpʌɡˈneɪʃən), impugnment, noun
impugner, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French impugner, from Latin impugnāre to fight against, attack, from im- + pugnāre to fight
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 impugn

"attack by argument," late 14c., from Old French impugner, from Latin impugnare "to assault, to attack," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + pugnare "to fight" (see pugnacious). Related: Impugned; impugning.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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