Ask Difference

Rude vs. Impertinent — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on October 26, 2023
"Rude" describes behavior that's disrespectful or lacking in manners, while "impertinent" refers to irrelevance or being inappropriately bold or cheeky. Their nuances differ in context.
Rude vs. Impertinent — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Rude and Impertinent

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Key Differences

Meaning of Rude vs. Impertinent: "Rude" primarily characterizes someone or something as being offensive, ill-mannered, or abrupt. In contrast, "impertinent" suggests a lack of respect through irrelevance or audacious behavior.
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Usage in Interactions: While a "rude" person might be outright aggressive or dismissive, an "impertinent" individual is likely more cheeky, giving responses that aren't necessarily asked for or relevant.
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Scope of Application: "Rude" has a broader application, encompassing any form of bad manners or lack of courtesy. "Impertinent," however, more specifically denotes overstepping boundaries through irrelevant or bold remarks.
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Common Scenarios: You'd describe someone as "rude" if they interrupted a conversation constantly. On the other hand, offering unsolicited advice on a personal matter can be seen as "impertinent."
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Degree of Offense: Both words can be offensive, but "rude" is more universally recognized as a negative trait. "Impertinent" might sometimes be seen as merely cheeky or audacious, rather than strictly negative.
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Comparison Chart

Primary Meaning

Disrespectful or lacking in manners
Irrelevant or inappropriately bold/cheeky
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Typical Usage

Describes generally bad manners
Points to overstepping boundaries in conversation
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Scope

Broad, encompasses any form of discourtesy
More specific, about irrelevance or audacious remarks
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Examples in Interaction

Interrupting conversations, being dismissive
Giving unsolicited advice, making irrelevant remarks
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Degree of Offense

Universally seen as negative
Sometimes seen as cheeky rather than strictly negative
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Compare with Definitions

Rude

Lacking manners or refinement.
His rude behavior at the party shocked everyone.
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Impertinent

Not showing proper respect; insolent.
His impertinent remarks during the meeting were uncalled for.
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Rude

Abrupt or curt in manner or speech.
She gave a rude reply when asked about her day.
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Impertinent

Not relevant or applicable.
She went on an impertinent tangent during the lecture.
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Rude

Being in a natural, unrefined state.
The landscape was dominated by rude mountains.
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Impertinent

Intrusive or presumptuous.
The salesman was impertinent, pushing products we didn't want.
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Rude

Offensively impolite or bad-mannered
She had been rude to her boss
He is a rude and arrogant bully
It's rude to talk about people right in front of them
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Impertinent

Bold or forward in manner.
The child was impertinent, constantly questioning adults.
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Rude

Having a startling abruptness
The war came as a very rude awakening
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Impertinent

Exceeding the limits of propriety or good manners.
Asking about her salary was rather impertinent.
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Rude

Vigorous or hearty
Isabel had always been in rude health
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Impertinent

Not showing proper respect; rude
An impertinent question
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Rude

Roughly made or done; lacking sophistication
A rude coffin
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Impertinent

Not pertinent to a particular matter; irrelevant
Talk of ‘rhetoric’ and ‘strategy’ is impertinent to this process
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Rude

Ill-mannered, discourteous, or insulting
Was offended by his rude behavior.
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Impertinent

Exceeding the limits of propriety or good manners; improperly forward or bold
Scolded the impertinent child for talking rudely.
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Rude

Undeveloped or uncivilized; primitive
A rude and savage land.
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Impertinent

Not pertinent
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Rude

Crude, unfinished, or made with limited skill
A rude thatched hut.
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Impertinent

Insolent, ill-mannered.
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Rude

In a natural, raw state
Bales of rude cotton.
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Impertinent

Irrelevant, useless.
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Rude

Unpleasantly forceful or harsh
Faced rude winds.
Received a rude shock.
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Impertinent

An impertinent individual.
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Rude

Chiefly British Vigorous or robust
In rude health.
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Impertinent

Not pertinent; not pertaining to the matter in hand; having no bearing on the subject; not to the point; irrelevant; inapplicable.
Things that are impertinent to us.
How impertinent that grief was which served no end!
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Rude

(Archaic) Lacking education or refinement
“They were so rude and ignorant ... that very little could be learned from them” (Samuel Johnson).
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Impertinent

Contrary to, or offending against, the rules of propriety or good breeding; guilty of, or prone to, rude, unbecoming, or uncivil words or actions; as, an impertient coxcomb; an impertient remark.
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Rude

Lacking in refinement or civility; bad-mannered; discourteous.
This girl was so rude towards the cashier by screaming at him for no apparent reason.
Karen broke up with Fred because he was often rude to her.
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Impertinent

Trifing; inattentive; frivolous.
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Rude

Lacking refinement or skill; untaught; ignorant; raw.
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Impertinent

An impertinent person.
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Rude

Violent; abrupt; turbulent.
A rude awakening
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Impertinent

Characterized by a lightly pert and exuberant quality;
A certain irreverent gaiety and ease of manner
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Rude

Somewhat obscene, pornographic, offensive.
A rude film
Rude language
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Impertinent

Not pertinent to the matter under consideration;
An issue extraneous to the debate
The price was immaterial
Mentioned several impertinent facts before finally coming to the point
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Rude

Undeveloped, unskilled, inelegant.
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Impertinent

Improperly forward or bold;
Don't be fresh with me
Impertinent of a child to lecture a grownup
An impudent boy given to insulting strangers
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Rude

Hearty, vigorous; found particularly in the phrase rude health.
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Rude

Crudely made; primitive.
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Rude

Characterized by roughness; umpolished; raw; lacking delicacy or refinement; coarse.
Such gardening tools as art, yet rude, . . . had formed.
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Rude

Unformed by taste or skill; not nicely finished; not smoothed or polished; - said especially of material things; as, rude workmanship.
Rude and unpolished stones.
The heaven-born childAll meanly wrapt in the rude manger lies.
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Rude

Of untaught manners; unpolished; of low rank; uncivil; clownish; ignorant; raw; unskillful; - said of persons, or of conduct, skill, and the like.
He was but rude in the profession of arms.
The rude forefathers of the hamlet sleep.
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Rude

Violent; tumultuous; boisterous; inclement; harsh; severe; - said of the weather, of storms, and the like; as, the rude winter.
[Clouds] pushed with winds, rude in their shock.
The rude agitation [of water] breaks it into foam.
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Rude

Barbarous; fierce; bloody; impetuous; - said of war, conflict, and the like; as, the rude shock of armies.
Rude am I in my speech.
Unblemished by my rude translation.
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Rude

Socially incorrect in behavior;
Resentment flared at such an unmannered intrusion
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Rude

(of persons) lacking in refinement or grace
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Rude

Lacking civility or good manners;
Want nothing from you but to get away from your uncivil tongue
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Rude

(used especially of commodities) in the natural unprocessed condition;
Natural yogurt
Natural produce
Raw wool
Raw sugar
Bales of rude cotton
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Rude

Belonging to an early stage of technical development; characterized by simplicity and (often) crudeness;
The crude weapons and rude agricultural implements of early man
Primitive movies of the 1890s
Primitive living conditions in the Appalachian mountains
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Rude

Primitive or basic in form.
The drawing was in a rude and unfinished state.
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Rude

Lacking sophistication or good taste.
The play was rude and lacked any artistic value.
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Common Curiosities

Does "rude" always imply intentional disrespect?

No, sometimes individuals might be unintentionally rude due to ignorance or oversight.
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Do "rude" and "impertinent" both describe bad manners?

Yes, but "rude" is broader, while "impertinent" often means inappropriately bold or irrelevant.
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Is "rude" always negative?

Typically, "rude" is seen as negative, indicating a lack of manners.
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Are all impertinent actions rude?

Not necessarily. Some impertinent remarks might just be cheeky, not rude.
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Can "impertinent" refer to irrelevance?

Yes, it can denote remarks or actions that aren't relevant to the context.
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Is "rudeness" universal across cultures?

No, what's considered "rude" can vary across cultures and societies.
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Is "impertinent" the same as "sassy"?

They're similar, but "sassy" often has a playful connotation, while "impertinent" can be more negative.
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Is asking personal questions always impertinent?

It depends on context, but probing personal questions can often be seen as impertinent.
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Can "impertinent" sometimes be seen as a positive trait?

Occasionally, if the context values audacity or boldness.
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Can objects be described as "rude"?

Yes, in contexts like "rude drawing," it refers to being basic or unrefined.
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Are "rudimentary" and "rude" similar?

While they share a root, "rudimentary" means basic or elementary, and "rude" often means ill-mannered.
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Is "irrelevant" synonymous with "impertinent"?

They're similar, but "impertinent" often carries a more disrespectful connotation.
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Does "rude" only describe people?

No, it can describe actions, behavior, and even objects in certain contexts.
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Is being direct always considered rude?

Not always. Directness, depending on cultural and situational context, can be appreciated or seen as rude.
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Can "impertinent" refer to someone being overly bold?

Yes, "impertinent" can mean inappropriately forward or bold.
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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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