[im-pawr-toon, -tyoon, im-pawr-chuhn]

verb (used with object), im·por·tuned, im·por·tun·ing.

verb (used without object), im·por·tuned, im·por·tun·ing.

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 formsim·por·tune·ly, adverbim·por·tun·er, nounun·im·por·tuned, adjective

Synonyms for importune Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for importune

Contemporary Examples of importune

  • I beg, plead, implore, importune: Get some spokespeople out there for the cause who are just regular Americans.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Tea Party Lessons for the Left

    Michael Tomasky

    October 5, 2011

Historical Examples of importune

  • I importune the Supreme Council for a post, a crust of bread, a home!

    Casanova's Homecoming

    Arthur Schnitzler

  • Are these matters wherewith to importune a stranger—a guest?

    The Lion's Skin

    Rafael Sabatini

  • I must obey you at the city gate; but I will importune you here.

    The Hour and the Man

    Harriet Martineau

  • No use to importune her to act against her instincts—not a bit of use!


    John Galsworthy

  • Though Jupiter should grant his request to each, we should continue to importune him.

    Pearls of Thought

    Maturin M. Ballou

British Dictionary definitions for importune


verb (tr)

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 Formsimportuner, nounimportunity or importunacy, noun

Word Origin for importune

C16: from Latin importūnus tiresome, from im- in- 1 + -portūnus as in opportūnus opportune
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

Word Origin and History for importune

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