Definition of importune in English:



[with object]
  • 1Harass (someone) persistently for or to do something.

    ‘she importuned a waiter for profiteroles’
    • ‘Then, relating the criminal conduct of Hamlet's uncle and his mother, the ghost importunes Hamlet to revenge it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In 1935 members of the Montgomery Air Pilots Club importuned city officials for improvements at the airport.’
    • ‘But I didn't importune or invite other people to do it.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As you might recall I importuned you on this topic at our previous encounter, but it seems that little has resulted.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘If I could just see you, talk to you’ a woman importunes her lover, forgetting that she is, in fact, talking to him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘As a journalist, I've been cajoled, flattered, and importuned (not to mention insulted, ignored, bored, and patronized) by politicians.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Even before the parts came out in book form, boys were forming into patrols, rigging up uniforms and importuning adults to be their Scoutmasters.’
    • ‘Her manipulative, importuning presence violates their sense of entitlement, which at first the film seems not to question.’
    • ‘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.’
    beg, beseech, entreat, implore, plead with, appeal to, apply to, call on, supplicate, solicit, petition, enjoin
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    1. 1.1usually as noun importuning Approach (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.’
      solicit, make sexual advances, offer one's services as a prostitute
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Mid 16th century: from French importuner or medieval Latin importunari, from Latin importunus ‘inconvenient, unseasonable’ (see importunate).