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[n. im-pakt; v. im-pakt] /n. ˈɪm pækt; v. ɪmˈpækt/
the striking of one thing against another; forceful contact; collision:
The impact of the colliding cars broke the windshield.
an impinging:
the impact of light on the eye.
influence; effect:
the impact of Einstein on modern physics.
an impacting; forcible impinging:
the tremendous impact of the shot.
the force exerted by a new idea, concept, technology, or ideology:
the impact of the industrial revolution.
verb (used with object)
to drive or press closely or firmly into something; pack in.
to fill up; congest; throng:
A vast crowd impacted St. Peter's Square.
to collide with; strike forcefully:
a rocket designed to impact the planet Mars.
to have an impact or effect on; influence; alter:
The decision may impact your whole career. The auto industry will be impacted by the new labor agreements.
verb (used without object)
to have impact or make contact forcefully:
The ball impacted against the bat with a loud noise.
to have an impact or effect:
Increased demand will impact on sales.
Origin of impact
1775-85; (noun and v.) back formation from impacted
Related forms
nonimpact, noun, adjective
postimpact, adjective
Usage note
The verb impact has developed the transitive sense “to have an impact or effect on” (The structured reading program has done more to impact the elementary schools than any other single factor) and the intransitive sense “to have an impact or effect” (The work done at the computer center will impact on the economy of Illinois and the nation). Although recent, the new uses are entirely standard and most likely to occur in formal speech and writing. See also impactful. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for impact
  • These products reduce the impact of logging by blending plastic with wood fiber.
  • None of these species are listed as endangered, but no one knows the potential impact from thousands of deaths each year.
  • These far-reaching effects illustrate the profound impact air pollution can have on the land.
  • It is not clear whether there is any such thing as global warming and what if any its impact is on this region.
  • We as humans have had an enormous impact by influencing natural selection.
  • But decades and even centuries later, the impact of his words would be distinctly felt throughout society.
  • Since the trend is often thought of as a private matter, you argue that its impact on civic life and politics is overlooked.
  • Many scientists believe the impact killed the dinosaurs.
  • Scientists believe that the impact of an asteroid only a mile wide would be globally catastrophic.
  • The choices you make everyday can have a big impact on our ocean.
British Dictionary definitions for impact


noun (ˈɪmpækt)
the act of one body, object, etc, striking another; collision
the force with which one thing hits another or with which two objects collide
the impression made by an idea, cultural movement, social group, etc: the impact of the Renaissance on Medieval Europe
verb (ɪmˈpækt)
to drive or press (an object) firmly into (another object, thing, etc) or (of two objects) to be driven or pressed firmly together
to have an impact or strong effect (on)
Derived Forms
impaction, noun
Word Origin
C18: from Latin impactus pushed against, fastened on, from impingere to thrust at, from pangere to drive in
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 impact

c.1600, "press closely into something," from Latin impactus, past participle of impingere "to push into, dash against, thrust at" (see impinge). Originally sense preserved in impacted teeth (1876). Sense of "strike forcefully against something" first recorded 1916. Figurative sense of "have a forceful effect on" is from 1935. Related: Impacting.


1781, "collision," from impact (v.). Figurative sense of "forceful impression" is from 1817 (Coleridge).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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