• (British) IPA: /ɪmpɔːˈtjuːn/, /ɪmˈpɔːtjuːn/
  • (America) IPA: /ɪmpɔɹˈtuːn/

importune (importunes, present participle importuning; past and past participle importuned)

  1. To bother, trouble, irritate.
    • 1603, Michel de Montaigne, chapter 17, in John Florio, transl., The Essayes, […], book II, printed at London: By Val[entine] Simmes for Edward Blount […], OCLC 946730821 ↗:
      To deliberate, be it but in slight matters, doth importune me.
    • 1813, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, Chapter 14
      But I will no longer importune my young cousin.
  2. To harass with persistent requests.
    • 1610, The Tempest, by Shakespeare, act 2 scene 1
      You were kneel'd to, and importun'd otherwise / By all of us; […].
    • 1712, Jonathan Swift, The Conduct of the Allies, and of the late Ministry, in beginning and carrying on the present War
      Their ministers and residents here have perpetually importuned the court with unreasonable demands.
  3. To approach to offer one's services as a prostitute, or otherwise make improper proposals.
  4. (obsolete) To import; to signify.
    • It importunes death.
Translations Translations Adjective


  1. (obsolete) Grievous, severe, exacting.
    • 1590, Edmund Spenser, The Faerie Queene,
      And therewithall he fiercely at him flew, / And with importune outrage him assayld [...].
  2. (obsolete) Inopportune; unseasonable.
  3. (obsolete) Troublesome; vexatious; persistent.
    • And their importune fates all satisfied.
    • 1625, Francis Bacon, Of Envy
      Of all other affections it [envy] is the most importune and continual.
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