Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To beset with insistent or repeated requests; entreat pressingly.
  • transitive v. Archaic To ask for urgently or repeatedly.
  • transitive v. To annoy; vex.
  • intransitive v. To plead or urge irksomely, often persistently. See Synonyms at beg.
  • adj. Importunate.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To bother, trouble, irritate.
  • v. To harass with persistent requests.
  • v. To approach to offer one's services as a prostitute, or otherwise make improper proposals.
  • adj. Grievous, severe, exacting.
  • adj. inopportune; unseasonable
  • adj. troublesome; vexatious; persistent

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Inopportune; unseasonable.
  • adj. Troublesome; vexatious; persistent; urgent; hence, vexatious on account of untimely urgency or pertinacious solicitation.
  • intransitive v. To require; to demand.
  • transitive v. To request or solicit, with urgency; to press with frequent, unreasonable, or troublesome application or pertinacity; hence, to tease; to irritate; to worry.
  • transitive v. To import; to signify.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Unseasonable; inopportune; untimely.
  • Importunate.
  • n. An importunate person; one offensively persistent.
  • To press or harass with solicitation; ply or beset with unremitting petitions or demands; crave or require persistently.
  • To crave or require persistently; beg for urgently.
  • To annoy; irritate; molest.
  • [A false use, by confusion with import.] To import; signify; mean.
  • Synonyms Request, Beg, Tease (see ask); appeal to, plead with, beset, urge, plague, worry, press, dun.
  • To make requests or demands urgently and persistently.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. beg persistently and urgently

Etymologies

French importuner, from Old French importun, inopportune, from Latin importūnus : in-, not; see in-1 + portus, port, refuge; see per-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Middle French importuner, from Medieval Latin importunari ("to make oneself troublesome"), from Latin importunus ("unfit, troublesome"), originally "having no harbor" (Wiktionary)

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  • Some great inquisitors in nature say,
    Royal and generous forms sweetly display
    Much of the heavenly virtue, as proceeding
    From a pure essence and elected breeding:
    Howe'er, truth for him thus nuch doth importune,
    His form and value both deserv'd his fortune;
    For 'tis a question not decided yet,
    Whether his mind or fortune were more great.

    - John Webster, 'A Monumental Column', 1613.

    August 2, 2009