Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Importune

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is importune. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

To importune someone is to annoy or pester them with repeated questions or requests.

// Several students importuned the professor to extend the deadline of the lengthy essay assignment until she finally relented.

IMPORTUNE in Context

“We learned from Drew Lock at the end of the Denver Broncos’ 2019 season that he planned to importune Peyton Manning for any advice, any tips on how to best attack the offseason.” — Chad Jensen, Sports Illustrated, 24 Jan. 2020

Did You Know?

“Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?” Oh, bother. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of this classic road-trip refrain, then you, friend, have been importuned. Importune is most often encountered in formal speech and writing, however, so you’re more likely to have responded “Stop bothering/pestering/annoying me!” (or just “No!”) than “Please cease importuning me while I’m driving!” Nevertheless, importune—like botherpester, and annoy—conveys irritating doggedness in trying to break down resistance to a request for something, whether information (such as a precise ETA) or a favor, as in “repeated e-mails from organizations importuning me for financial help.” Importune also functions in the legal realm, where it is used for behavior that qualifies as pressing or urging another with troublesome persistence.

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