Definition of impertinent in US English:



  • 1Not showing proper respect; rude.

    ‘an impertinent question’
    • ‘The great, the good and the rich rule their fiefdoms without having to put up with any impertinent interference from the people who do most of the work or buy the goods.’
    • ‘I have been told by some of the publicists associated with the movie that I'm a little impertinent to be leading any chorus in that direction.’
    • ‘I hope you don't feel that I am being impertinent to you in raising those matters with you.’
    • ‘It would have been impertinent to talk about pay or pensions; but about land mines I hoped that I might receive a hearing, as the Member of Parliament most often nearly blown up by them.’
    • ‘The waiter was brusque to the point of being rude and impertinent, messed up the orders and was not particularly responsive.’
    • ‘There's no choice but to speak ill of the dead and ask impertinent questions about the emperor's clothes.’
    • ‘For an agonizing 20 minutes, he politely fielded a volley of impertinent questions.’
    • ‘She was an impertinent child who displayed no respect for me or this city of ours.’
    • ‘I suppose you think I'm rude and impertinent, barging in here and insisting I knew you.’
    • ‘He deals very well with even the most impertinent questions.’
    • ‘These are impertinent questions, and their only aim is to reduce any claims as much as possible.’
    • ‘She discouraged impertinent curiosity with frozen silence and there is an uneasy feeling, as one reads, that one is prying into her chosen privacy.’
    • ‘All of us, that is, have a child-reader within asking shrewd and impertinent questions.’
    • ‘Dave did something more reporters should do more often in our media culture: Ask an impertinent question, and then try to find the answer.’
    • ‘One shouldn't ask such impertinent questions.’
    • ‘It seems a bit impertinent to ask if this relationship needs a license to endure.’
    • ‘And this step is an impertinent intrusion in peoples' personal lives.’
    • ‘They can ask us the most impertinent or rude questions but, obviously, we cannot ask, hint at or even think about anything approaching the same.’
    • ‘In a less statist society, the very idea of a legal work week, except perhaps for minors and pregnant women, would probably be regarded as weird, presumptuous and actually impertinent.’
    • ‘Admittedly, the question was cheeky, perhaps even a little impertinent.’
    rude, insolent, impolite, unmannerly, ill-mannered, bad-mannered, uncivil, discourteous, disrespectful
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  • 2formal Not pertinent to a particular matter; irrelevant.

    ‘talk of “rhetoric” and “strategy” is impertinent to this process’
    • ‘The students believed that the goal of their required first-year course was to improve their writing, and for that reason my effort to pose writing as a subject of analysis was misguided at best and at worst impertinent and irrelevant.’
    • ‘It is so frustrating that the bleached images of the alien world are so ruggedly handsome and so unjustified and impertinent to the plot at the same time.’
    • ‘There are in these uninterrupted hundred minutes valuable insights, humorous anecdotes, pertinent and impertinent asides.’
    • ‘A couple of years ago a bunch of them sat through a four-hour meeting with yours truly and answered a whole lot of questions, both pertinent and impertinent.’
    • ‘However the compilation fits together so seamlessly that it would be rather impertinent to keep on discussing individual items.’
    irrelevant, inapplicable, inapposite, inappropriate, immaterial, unrelated, unconnected, not germane
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Late Middle English (in impertinent (sense 2)): from Old French, or from late Latin impertinent- ‘not having reference to’, from Latin in- ‘not’ + pertinere ‘pertain’.