Definition of impunity in English:



  • [mass noun] Exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action:

    ‘the impunity enjoyed by military officers implicated in civilian killings’
    ‘protestors burned flags on the streets with impunity’
    • ‘He bought and sold thousands of pounds worth of stolen goods with seeming impunity for years, all the time informing on the criminals he dealt with to the police.’
    • ‘When the rule of law is not respected, arbitrariness and impunity dominate the political scene.’
    • ‘Unusually, given the country's climate of almost complete impunity, three army officers were convicted of his murder.’
    • ‘I hope he is not able to hide there in impunity the way other murder suspects have.’
    • ‘People live in fear of armed groups who can strike with seeming impunity.’
    • ‘That was innocent and harmless but as time went on more and more conventions were broken with more and more impunity.’
    • ‘That impunity led to the indiscriminate slaughter of peasants mentioned above.’
    • ‘Using that tort settlement, the big brands have hampered tiny cut-rate rivals and raised prices with near impunity.’
    • ‘Those involved in such attacks often enjoy complete impunity.’
    • ‘It was in this atmosphere of total impunity that the 31 August attack took place.’
    • ‘There was a feeling that living was much harder for those who obeyed the law and that impunity favoured criminals.’
    • ‘War crimes will only end when potential war criminals fear punishment; that will only happen when we end impunity.’
    • ‘If this war is allowed to pass with impunity, these will be the consequences.’
    • ‘And in the void of our collective silence, the government continues to act with brutal impunity.’
    • ‘Some ministers seem to be able to break the rules with impunity.’
    • ‘The impunity of police and denial of due process to victims is disturbing to rights activists.’
    • ‘The impunity for such abuses has served to perpetuate the conflict and has led to serious human rights atrocities committed by both sides.’
    • ‘Their impunity to prosecution and the lightness of the sentences they do get when they are caught is a joke and has bred an arrogance that makes my stomach churn.’
    • ‘Are they going to speak out against impunity, especially for a former legislator who knows the importance of the rule of the law?’
    • ‘Certain thugs and vandals appear to have impunity from arrest.’
    immunity, indemnity, exemption from punishment, freedom from punishment, exemption, non-liability, licence
    amnesty, dispensation, pardon, reprieve, stay of execution, exoneration
    privilege, special treatment, favouritism
    unpunished, with no ill consequences, with no ill effects, without being punished, without punishment
    carte blanche
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Mid 16th century: from Latin impunitas, from impunis unpunished, from in- not + poena penalty or punire punish.