Definition of importune in English:



  • 1 Harass (someone) persistently for or to do something.

    ‘she importuned a waiter for profiteroles’
    • ‘‘If I could just see you, talk to you’ a woman importunes her lover, forgetting that she is, in fact, talking to him.’
    • ‘But a glimpse of the relationship can be found in the notes of a visitor, August Gottlieb Meissner, who was present when Mozart's friends importuned him to finish the overture to Don Giovanni.’
    • ‘This is the bargain basement of therapy, and you can't walk two blocks in that part of Manhattan without being importuned by placards promising their version of inner peace.’
    • ‘Even before the parts came out in book form, boys were forming into patrols, rigging up uniforms and importuning adults to be their Scoutmasters.’
    • ‘As a journalist, I've been cajoled, flattered, and importuned (not to mention insulted, ignored, bored, and patronized) by politicians.’
    • ‘Then, relating the criminal conduct of Hamlet's uncle and his mother, the ghost importunes Hamlet to revenge it.’
    • ‘Russian and Chinese officials likely have found it easier to interact with each other than with their Western interlocutors, who constantly importune them to improve their human rights and other domestic practices.’
    • ‘But I didn't importune or invite other people to do it.’
    • ‘Her manipulative, importuning presence violates their sense of entitlement, which at first the film seems not to question.’
    • ‘The merchandise pushers have invaded the commons of childhood, the free open spaces of imagination and play, and turned them into a free-fire zone of commercial importuning.’
    • ‘In 1935 members of the Montgomery Air Pilots Club importuned city officials for improvements at the airport.’
    • ‘As you might recall I importuned you on this topic at our previous encounter, but it seems that little has resulted.’
    • ‘For instance, when Tom importunes a reclining, exhausted Grace, the director cuts from a shot of the woman nearly asleep to one of her wide awake, sitting up and trying to still Tom's jabbering.’
    • ‘The Buddha found himself in a vigorous, competitive world which importuned him on all sides with predatory demands for total intellectual allegiance and total acceptance of one way of life or another.’
    • ‘Although I was being importuned with an obstinate request for alms, I nonetheless summoned enough courage to give him a glowering look in an attempt to scare him away.’
    • ‘The Victorian crossing-sweeper was exactly analogous to the ubiquitous windscreen cleaner to be found importuning motorists at London and New York traffic-lights in the 1980s and 1990s.’
    • ‘Contrast that with the way that Columbus, living in a Europe of competing nations, could importune king after king until he hit on someone to back his voyage over the ocean.’
    • ‘There used to be a pretty clear split between political consultants, who helped politicians to get elected, and lobbyists, who importuned them on behalf of private clients.’
    • ‘I understand that well-meaning people are sometimes importuned to write such letters on behalf of those who aren't in a position to respond themselves.’
    • ‘The harbour was crowded with fishing vessels no longer employed… the quay was covered in long grass and a melancholy assemblage of beggars importuned us for relief wherever we walked.’
    beg, beseech, entreat, implore, plead with, appeal to, apply to, call on, supplicate, solicit, petition, enjoin
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Approach (someone) to offer one's services as a prostitute.
      ‘they said they were arresting me for importuning’
      • ‘You are under arrest for importuning for immoral proposes.’


Mid 16th century: from French importuner or medieval Latin importunari, from Latin importunus inconvenient, unseasonable (see importunate).