To literally impinge on something is to strike it with force or energy.
To figuratively impinge on something is to interfere with it and limit it, or to infringe on it.
Part of speech:
(Like "sleep," "skydive," and "succeed," all intransitive verbs show complete action on their own and do not do action to an object. You sleep, you skydive, you succeed, and that’s it. You don’t "sleep a bed," "skydive a plane," or "succeed a plan".
Likewise, something or someone impinges, often on something else.)
impinged, impinging, impingement
How to use it:
For the literal meaning, talk about insects impinging on your car's windshield, drops of rain impinging against your window, gusts of wind that impinge on your pile of papers, and so on. (The "-ing" form is useful as an adjective: impinging insects, impinging rain, impinging gusts of wind.)
Figuratively, talk about people or events or rules or statements that impinge on your rights, impinge on your freedom, impinge on your ability to express yourself (or work efficiently, or assert yourself, or do whatever it is people should just let you do without impingement).
The insults meant to impinge on his calm demeanor made no impact at all.
Look, a sidewalk-chalked slogan for the candidate you don't like doesn't constitute an impingement on your own freedom of expression.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "impinge" means when you can explain it without saying "strike" or "encroach."
Think of a time you felt too restricted or too restrained, and fill in the blanks: "_____ impinged on my (freedom of expression / artistic freedom / academic freedom / ability to think freely, etc.)"
Example: "The worksheet's tiny spaces beneath each open-ended question really impinged on my ability to give thoughtful answers.
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
We're playing with clichés this month, examining the origins of some colorful ones. I’ll give you a cliché (some of which you might also call a proverb and/or an idiom) and pose a multiple-choice question about its origin. (I used this nifty book as a reference!)
Yesterday's question: “Better safe than sorry.” Was that cliché first recorded around 1533, 1733, or 1933?
Answer: Surprisingly, it’s pretty new—first recorded in 1933!
Try this one today: These days, a “false alarm” is any situation that seems scary but is actually okay. Back in the early 1800s, would you be mostly likely to find that cliché in a discussion about sailing disasters, military tactics, or political campaigns?
A Point Well Made:
Douglas Adams: “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”
1. One opposite of IMPINGE is
A. LET FALL
B. LET SLIDE
C. LET BE
2. It's hard for laypeople like me to _____ impinging _____.
A. visualize .. electrons B. understand .. processes
C. determine.. exceptions
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today's "impinge" is from a Latin verb meaning "to drive (in)." It's that forceful meaning of "drive," like you drive a nail into the wood or drive your point into your listeners. So, "impinge" is etymological cousins with other words about forceful motions both literal and figurative, like "pact," "impact" and "compact."
Could you recall these other terms for talking about driving things in?