December 17, 2012
impunity (noun)
\im-PYOO-nuh-tee\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: freedom from punishment, harm, or loss
How do you use it?
He was angry that his classmates seemed to be able to turn in late work with impunity, but when he did so, he lost points.
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What words are cousins of the word "impunity"?

"Impunity," "pine," and "punish" all trace their roots back to the Latin word "poena," meaning "penalty." "Impunity" is the newest of the three, and it comes from the prefix "in-," meaning "without," and "poena." The verb "pine," meaning "to fervently long for," isn't related to the tree "pine"—it's from the Old English verb "pinian," meaning "to suffer," which comes from "poena." And "punish" comes ultimately from "poena," though it takes a bit of a turn through medieval French and Middle English.
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