impertinent

If someone's rude without being openly nasty, like a kid in the back row of class quietly heckling his teacher, you can call him impertinent.

Impertinent originally meant just what it sounds like, "not pertinent, irrelevant," but it came to mean "inappropriate, out of place" and therefore "intrusive, presumptuous; behaving without proper respect; insolent." It still carries a condescending air, so it's best used of or to a child being snippy to a grownup: "Don't be impertinent!" The stress is on the second syllable: im-PERT-inent.

PRIMARY MEANINGS OF: impertinent

1
adj
improperly forward or bold
2
adj
not pertinent to the matter under consideration
FULL DEFINITIONS OF: impertinent
1

adj improperly forward or bold

impertinent of a child to lecture a grownup”
Synonyms:
fresh, impudent, overbold, sassy, saucy, smart, wise
forward
used of temperament or behavior; lacking restraint or modesty

adj characterized by a lightly pert and exuberant quality

Synonyms:
irreverent, pert, saucy
spirited
displaying animation, vigor, or liveliness
2

adj not pertinent to the matter under consideration

“mentioned several impertinent facts before finally coming to the point”
Synonyms:
extraneous, immaterial, orthogonal
irrelevant
having no bearing on or connection with the subject at issue
WORD FAMILY
USAGE EXAMPLES