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September 23, 2022

Importunate / adjective / im·​por·​tu·​nate

Have you ever had someone make the same request to you persistently and repeatedly to an uncomfortable extent? This is an example of an importunate request.

Importunate is an adjective used to describe urgent requests that are repeated, demanding, and those that cannot wait. Someone making an importunate request is urgently communicating that they have a burning need or desire for their request to be completed immediately or as soon as possible.

In the English language, compelling and urgent are words that have the same meaning as importunate, and we can use both words as synonyms to describe unrelenting and insistent requests for a response. Noncritical or nonurgent are antonyms of the word importune that we can use to describe its opposites.

In a Sentence

Working as a surgeon in a county hospital is a job that comes with many importunate requests that often overwhelm surgeons, nurses, and other medical employees.

The demands of her job were so importunate that she constantly thought about quitting and starting her own business almost daily.

Most people feel uncomfortable when unfairly subjected to the importunate demands of others when they have no choice but to comply.


We derived the word importunate from the Latin word importunus, meaning "pestering," and the suffix -atus, meaning "active." English speakers started using importunate to describe unrelenting and persistent requests as a synonym for the word importune in the 16th century.

Etymologists say there is some evidence of earlier use of importunate during the 15th century. We still use the word importunate today to describe repetitive requests with an urgent timeline.


Compelling, Urgent


Noncritical, Nonurgent



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