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[im-pur-tn-uh nt] /ɪmˈpɜr tn ənt/
intrusive or presumptuous, as persons or their actions; insolently rude; uncivil:
a brash, impertinent youth.
not pertinent or relevant; irrelevant:
an impertinent detail.
Archaic. inappropriate, incongruous, or absurd.
Obsolete. (of persons) trivial, silly, or absurd.
Origin of impertinent
1350-1400; Middle English < Late Latin impertinent- (stem of impertinēns) not belonging. See im-2, pertinent
Related forms
impertinently, adverb
impertinentness, noun
unimpertinent, adjective
unimpertinently, adverb
1. fresh, bold, insulting, officious, saucy, pert, brazen. Impertinent, impudent, insolent refer to bold, rude, and arrogant behavior. Impertinent, from its primary meaning of not pertinent and hence inappropriate or out of place, has come to imply often an unseemly intrusion into what does not concern one, or a presumptuous rudeness toward one entitled to deference or respect: an impertinent interruption, question, manner toward a teacher. Impudent suggests a bold and shameless impertinence: an impudent speech, young rascal. Insolent suggests insulting or arrogantly contemptuous behavior: unbearably insolent toward those in authority.
1. polite. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for impertinent
  • And it seems impertinent to wonder whether she's lonely, what with her jetting around all the time and working constantly.
  • Her wit, for want of teaching, makes her impertinent and talkative.
  • It seemed that an impertinent fellow had dressed himself up as a preposterous parody of myself.
  • Large figures with wrinkled gray skin, unfamiliar flaps, impertinent hairs and heavy limbs.
  • Subsequently he discovers who she is and she is not best pleased with him for having been impertinent.
  • It's a question to be asked and answered, not brushed away as impertinent.
  • We accordingly strike the impertinent materials from appellants' brief.
  • Discovery does not sanction impertinent intrusion, and there must be a showing of good faith and probable cause.
  • Until they finally parted it seemed impertinent for even a gap of space to come between them.
British Dictionary definitions for impertinent


rude; insolent; impudent
irrelevant or inappropriate
Derived Forms
impertinently, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin impertinēns not belonging, from Latin im- (not) + pertinēre to be relevant; see pertain
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 impertinent

late 14c., "unconnected, unrelated, not to the point," from Old French impertinent (14c.) or directly from Late Latin impertinentem (nominative impertinens) "not belonging," literally "not to the point," from assimilated form of Latin in- "not, opposite of" (see in- (1)) + pertinens (see pertinent). Sense of "rudely bold" is 1680s, from earlier sense of "not appropriate to the situation," probably modeled on similar use in French, especially by Molière, from notion of meddling with what is beyond one's proper sphere.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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