• synonyms


verb (used with object)
  1. to challenge as false (another's statements, motives, etc.); cast doubt upon.
  2. Archaic. to assail (a person) by words or arguments; vilify.
  3. Obsolete. to attack (a person) physically.
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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 formsim·pugn·a·ble, adjectiveim·pugn·a·bil·i·ty, nounim·pugn·er, nounim·pugn·ment, nounun·im·pugn·a·ble, adjectiveun·im·pugned, adjective
Can be confusedimpugn impute

Synonyms for impugn

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for impugns

assail, contravene, tar, knock, deny, blast, traduce, contradict, question, traverse, cross, resist, attack, break, oppose, negative, smear, negate, trash, slam

Examples from the Web for impugns

Historical Examples of impugns

  • Gents, since you impugns my integrity, my only word is, Make your next move.

    The Sunset Trail

    Alfred Henry Lewis

  • Plato, when he impugns the doctrine of Protagoras, states that doctrine without the qualification properly belonging to it.

  • And this goes deeper than the private life—it impugns the sanctity of our intentions.

  • Aristotle impugns, as alike untenable, both the two properties here alleged number and self-motion.


    George Grote

  • Calvin (who had met Quintin in Paris) describes the doctrines he impugns as pantheistic and antinomian.

British Dictionary definitions for impugns


  1. (tr) to challenge or attack as false; assail; criticize
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Derived Formsimpugnable, adjectiveimpugnation (ˌɪmpʌɡˈneɪʃən) or impugnment, nounimpugner, noun

Word Origin for impugn

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

Word Origin and History for impugns



"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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper