A golf club about to impact the ball.
An example of impact is the effect that humans are having on the environment.
- to force tightly together; pack; wedge
- to affect: a usage still objected to by some
Origin of impactfrom Classical Latin impactus, past participle of impingere, to press firmly together: see impinge
- to hit with force
- to have an effect: usually with on: a usage still objected to by some
- a striking together; violent contact; collision
- the force of a collision; shock
- the power of an event, idea, etc. to produce changes, move the feelings, etc.
- a. The striking of one body against another; collision. See Synonyms at collision.b. The force transmitted by a collision.
- The effect or impression of one person or thing on another: still gauging the impact of automation on the lives of factory workers.
verbim·pact·ed, im·pact·ing, im·pacts
- To pack firmly together.
- To strike forcefully: meteorites impacting the lunar surface.
- To have an effect or impact on: “No region … has been more impacted by emerging … economic trends” ( Joel Kotkin )
Origin of impactFrom Latin impāctus past participle of impingere to push against ; see impinge.
Usage Note: Impact in the figurative sense of “a dramatic effect” came under criticism in the 1960s, both as a noun and verb. Complaints that the noun was a pointless hyperbole and a vogue word turned out to be short-lived, and this usage is now is standard: in our 2015 survey, 97 percent of the Usage Panel accepted The program might have a positive impact on our nation's youth. (A similar sentence was accepted by 93 percent of the Panel in 2001.) The verb is a different matter. Many people dislike it because they assume it was converted from the noun in the manner of voguish and bureaucratic words like dialogue and interface, but in fact impact was a verb long before it was a noun—the verb dates from the early 1600s, the noun from the late 1700s. Most of the Panelists still disapprove of the intransitive use of the verb meaning “to have an effect”: in our 2015 survey, 78 percent of the Panel (down only slightly from 85 percent in 2001) rejected These policies are impacting on our ability to achieve success. The transitive version was once as vilified, but is gradually becoming more acceptable: in 2015, only 50 percent (down from 80 percent in 2001) rejected The court ruling will impact the education of minority students, and only 39 percent (down from 66 percent in 2001) found the literal sense unacceptable in the sentence Thousands of meteors have impacted the lunar surface. Although resistance to the transitive senses is waning, the intransitive use is still strongly disliked and is best avoided. See Usage Note at contact. See Usage Note at impactful.
- The striking of one body against another; collision.
- The force or energy of a collision of two objects.
- The hatchet cut the wood on impact.
- (chiefly medicine) A forced impinging.
- His spine had an impingement; L4 and L5 made impact, which caused numbness in his leg.
- A significant or strong influence; an effect.
- His friend's opinion had an impact on his decision.
- Our choice of concrete will have a tremendous impact on the building's mechanical performance.
- Adjectives often applied to "impact": social, political, physical, positive, negative, good, bad, beneficial, harmful, significant, great, important, strong, big, small, real, huge, likely, actual, potential, devastating, disastrous, true, primary.
- The adposition generally used with "impact" is "on" (such as in last example in section above)
- There are English speakers who are so averse to the verb sense that they have become hypersensitive to the use of the figurative noun sense, with a low threshold for labeling such use as overuse (cliché). In defensive editing, the solution is to replace the noun sense with effect and the verb sense with affect, which nearly always produces an acceptable result.
(third-person singular simple present impacts, present participle impacting, simple past and past participle impacted)
- To compress; to compact; to press or pack together.
- If fecal incontinence is caused by impacted stool in the rectum, the impaction must be removed.
- (proscribed) To influence; to affect; to have an impact on.
- I can make the changes, but it will impact the schedule.
- To collide or strike.
- When the hammer impacts the nail, it bends.
Some authorities object to the verb sense of impact, meaning "to influence; to affect; to have an impact on" or "to collide or strike". Although most verbification instances in English draw no prescriptive attention, a few do, including this one. To avoid annoying those readers who care, one can replace the verb sense with affect, which nearly always produces an acceptable result. See also the usage note for the noun sense.
From Latin impāctus, perfect passive participle of impingō (“dash against, impinge”).