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’
    • ‘Unusually, given the country's climate of almost complete impunity, three army officers were convicted of his murder.’
    • ‘If this war is allowed to pass with impunity, these will be the consequences.’
    • ‘War crimes will only end when potential war criminals fear punishment; that will only happen when we end impunity.’
    • ‘That impunity led to the indiscriminate slaughter of peasants mentioned above.’
    • ‘Certain thugs and vandals appear to have impunity from arrest.’
    • ‘And in the void of our collective silence, the government continues to act with brutal impunity.’
    • ‘There was a feeling that living was much harder for those who obeyed the law and that impunity favoured criminals.’
    • ‘When the rule of law is not respected, arbitrariness and impunity dominate the political scene.’
    • ‘It was in this atmosphere of total impunity that the 31 August attack took place.’
    • ‘I hope he is not able to hide there in impunity the way other murder suspects have.’
    • ‘The impunity of police and denial of due process to victims is disturbing to rights activists.’
    • ‘Are they going to speak out against impunity, especially for a former legislator who knows the importance of the rule of the law?’
    • ‘That was innocent and harmless but as time went on more and more conventions were broken with more and more impunity.’
    • ‘Using that tort settlement, the big brands have hampered tiny cut-rate rivals and raised prices with near impunity.’
    • ‘People live in fear of armed groups who can strike with seeming 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.’
    • ‘Some ministers seem to be able to break the rules with impunity.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Those involved in such attacks often enjoy complete impunity.’
    • ‘The impunity for such abuses has served to perpetuate the conflict and has led to serious human rights atrocities committed by both sides.’
    immunity, indemnity, exemption from punishment, freedom from punishment, exemption, non-liability, licence
    unpunished, with no ill consequences, with no ill effects, without being punished, without punishment
    View synonyms


Mid 16th century: from Latin impunitas, from impunis ‘unpunished’, from in- ‘not’ + poena ‘penalty’ or punire ‘punish’.