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[im-peech] /ɪmˈpitʃ/
verb (used with object)
to accuse (a public official) before an appropriate tribunal of misconduct in office.
Chiefly Law. to challenge the credibility of:
to impeach a witness.
to bring an accusation against.
to call in question; cast an imputation upon:
to impeach a person's motives.
to call to account.
Obsolete. impeachment.
Origin of impeach
1350-1400; Middle English empechen, enpeshen < Anglo-French empecher < Late Latin impedicāre to fetter, trap, equivalent to Latin im- im-1 + pedic(a) a fetter (derivative of pēs foot) + -ā- thematic vowel + -re infinitive suffix
Related forms
impeacher, noun
unimpeached, adjective
4. question, challenge, impugn. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for impeach
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I denounce this person as a liar, and impeach him as a coward.

  • She will be in a state of mind to impeach the justice of the Republic.

    A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens
  • Some fool, it appeared, wanted to impeach Babberly, and Babberly said that he wanted to be impeached.

    The Red Hand of Ulster George A. Birmingham
  • In a crowded House, he arose to impeach his enemies and traducers.

    Recollections David Christie Murray
  • Do you mean to impeach my attestation of Sir William's signature?

    Dulcibel Henry Peterson
British Dictionary definitions for impeach


verb (transitive)
(criminal law) to bring a charge or accusation against
(Brit, criminal law) to accuse of a crime, esp of treason or some other offence against the state
(mainly US) to charge (a public official) with an offence committed in office
to challenge or question (a person's honesty, integrity, etc)
Derived Forms
impeacher, noun
Word Origin
C14: from Old French empeechier, from Late Latin impedicāre to entangle, catch, from Latin im- (in) + pedica a fetter, from pēs foot
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for impeach

late 14c., "to impede, hinder, prevent," from Anglo-French empecher, Old French empeechier "hinder" (12c., Modern French empêcher), from Late Latin impedicare "to fetter, catch, entangle," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + Latin pedica "shackle," from pes (genitive pedis) "foot." Sense of "accuse a public officer of misconduct" first recorded 1560s, perhaps via confusion with Latin impetere "attack, accuse." Related: Impeached; impeaching.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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