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 formsim·peach·er, nounun·im·peached, adjective

Synonyms for impeach Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impeach

Contemporary Examples of impeach

Historical Examples of impeach

  • 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.


    David Christie Murray

  • Do you mean to impeach my attestation of Sir William's signature?


    Henry Peterson

British Dictionary definitions for impeach


verb (tr)

criminal law to bring a charge or accusation against
British 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 Formsimpeacher, noun

Word Origin for impeach

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

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