AskDefine | Define impertinent

Dictionary Definition

impertinent adj
1 characterized by a lightly pert and exuberant quality; "a certain irreverent gaiety and ease of manner" [syn: irreverent, pert, saucy]
2 not pertinent to the matter under consideration; "an issue extraneous to the debate"; "the price was immaterial"; "mentioned several impertinent facts before finally coming to the point" [syn: extraneous, immaterial, orthogonal]
3 improperly forward or bold; "don't be fresh with me"; "impertinent of a child to lecture a grownup"; "an impudent boy given to insulting strangers" [syn: fresh, impudent, overbold, smart, saucy, sassy]

User Contributed Dictionary


  • a UK /ɪmˈpɜ:.tɪ.nənt/, /Im"p3:.tI.nənt/
  • a US /Imp3`?n@nt/


  1. irrelevant (opposite of pertinent)
  2. insolent, ill-mannered


insolent, ill-mannered
Usage Note: Although historically sense (1) was original (derived from French below), over time meaning switched to sense (2). However, more recently meaning has swung back to (1). (As people have used the word less, its latter and somewhat illogical meaning has declined in favour of the earlier and more logical one.) However, many older speakers will consider sense (1) incorrect. Some therefore suggest avoiding the word altogether; the construction "not pertinent" may be used as an alternative.



  1. irrelevant (opposite of pertinent)


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