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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 impugned
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • No breath of scandal touched her fair name, or impugned her devotion to Henry.

    Henry VIII. A. F. Pollard
  • He had impugned their skill in the hunt, and they were ravenous for him.

    The heart of happy hollow Paul Laurence Dunbar
  • There was irritation in his voice, as though Mike had impugned the memory of a friend.

    Unwise Child Gordon Randall Garrett
  • “And impugned by three gentlemen,” said Bruce, who felt how thoroughly he was in disgrace.

    Julian Home Dean Frederic W. Farrar
  • But I can correct it now, and shall do it; for now my motives cannot be impugned.

  • But here again M. Rollinat's veracity is impugned on all sides.

  • Yet at the time his motives were impugned, and not without much reason.

    Lord Randolph Churchill Winston Spencer Churchill
  • Yet, where he felt that his honour was impugned, none could be more sensitive or more resolute.

    Michael Faraday J. H. Gladstone
  • That is, when the honor of the ladies of his family is impugned.

    Mrs. Darrell Foxcroft Davis
British Dictionary definitions for impugned


(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 impugned



"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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