• IPA: /ɪmˈpjuːt/

impute (imputes, present participle imputing; past and past participle imputed)

  1. (transitive) To attribute or ascribe (responsibility or fault) to a cause or source.
    The teacher imputed the student's failure to his nervousness.
    • 1751, Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard, lines 37–40:
      Nor you, ye proud, impute to these the fault, // If mem’ry o’er their tomb no trophies raise, // Where thro’ the long-drawn isle and fretted vault, // The pealing anthem swells the note of praise.
    • 1856 February, Thomas Babington Macaulay, “Oliver Goldsmith” in the Encyclopædia Britannica (eighth edition), volume and page numbers unknown:
      He was vain, sensual, frivolous, profuse, improvident. One vice of a darker shade was imputed to him, envy.
    • 1956–1960, R.S. Peters, The Concept of Motivation, Routledge & Kegan Paul (second edition, 1960), chapter ii: “Motives and Motivation”, page 29:
      We ascribe or impute motives to others and avow them or confess to them in ourselves.
  2. (transitive, theology) To ascribe (sin or righteousness) to someone by substitution.
    • 2009, Diarmaid MacCulloch, A History of Christianity, Penguin (2010), page 607:
      To use the technical language of theologians, God through his grace ‘imputes’ the merits of the crucified and risen Christ to a fallen human being who remains without inherent merit, and who without this ‘imputation’ would not be ‘made’ righteous at all.
  3. (transitive) To take into account; to consider; to regard.
    • 1788, Edward Gibbon, The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire VI, chapter lxiv, “A.D. 1355–1391: The Emperor John Palæologus; Discord of the Greeks”, page 328 ↗:
      They ſerved with honour in the wars of Bajazet; but a plan of fortifying Conſtantinople excited his jealouſy: he threatened their lives; the new works were inſtantly demoliſhed; and we ſhall beſtow a praiſe, perhaps above the merit of Palæologus, if we impute this laſt humiliation as the cauſe of his death.
  4. (transitive) To attribute or credit to.
    People impute great cleverness to cats.
    • 2014, Janet Clare, Shakespeare's Stage Traffic (page 11)
      In any case, the practices imputed to Shakespeare as an emergent dramatist were not in the least exceptional.
  5. (transitive) To replace missing data with substituted values.
    • 2012, Stef van Buuren, Flexible Imputation of Missing Data (page 263)
    • remove observed values and impute
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