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See also: împinge




Borrowed from Latin impingō (dash against, impinge). Compare impact, derived from the perfect passive participle of impingō.



impinge (third-person singular simple present impinges, present participle impinging, simple past and past participle impinged)

  1. (transitive, now rare) To make a physical impact on.
    Synonyms: collide, crash, strike
    • 1621, Democritus Junior [pseudonym; Robert Burton], The Anatomy of Melancholy, Oxford: Printed by Iohn Lichfield and Iames Short, for Henry Cripps, OCLC 216894069; The Anatomy of Melancholy. [], 5th corrected and augmented edition, Oxford: Printed [by Robert Young, Miles Flesher, and Leonard Lichfield and William Turner] for Henry Cripps, 1638, OCLC 932915040, partition 1, page 118:
      The ordinary rocks upon which such men do impinge and precipitate themselves, are cards, dice, hawks, and hounds []
  2. (intransitive, figuratively) To interfere with.
    Synonyms: encroach, infringe, trespass
    • 2006 Summer, Keith R. Fisher, “Toward a Basal Tenth Amendment: A Riposte to National Bank Preemption of State Consumer Protection Laws”, in Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy, volume 29, page 981-1034:
      It is astonishing that the meaning of a single declarative sentence enshrined in the Bill of Rights has evaded judicial construction establishing, at a minimum, some bedrock level of state sovereignty upon which the federal government can not impinge.
  3. (intransitive, figuratively) To have an effect upon, especially a negative one.
    Synonyms: affect, limit, touch, influence, impact
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, in Lord Stranleigh Abroad:
      “I have tried, as I hinted, to enlist the co-operation of other capitalists, but experience has taught me that any appeal is futile that does not impinge directly upon cupidity. …”
    • 1982, Patrick O' Brien, “European Economic Development: The Contribution of the Periphery”, in The Economic History Review, volume 107, number 2, page 445:
      Except for a restricted range of examples, growth, stagnation, and decay everywhere in Western Europe can be explained mainly by endogenous forces. The 'world economy', such as it was, hardly impinged [on Europe].
    • 2017, Rutger Bregman, chapter 3, in Elizabeth Manton, transl., Utopia for Realists, Kindle edition, Bloomsbury Publishing, page 56:
      Scarcity impinges on your mind. People behave differently when they perceive a thing to be scarce.

Usage notesEdit

  • The transitive use is less common, not included in many small dictionaries, and not favored by Garner's Modern American Usage (2009).

Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit