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impeach

[im-peech]
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verb (used with object)
  1. to accuse (a public official) before an appropriate tribunal of misconduct in office.
  2. Chiefly Law. to challenge the credibility of: to impeach a witness.
  3. to bring an accusation against.
  4. to call in question; cast an imputation upon: to impeach a person's motives.
  5. to call to account.
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noun
  1. Obsolete. impeachment.
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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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

criticizereprimanddiscreditindictaccusearraignblameimpugnreprobatequestionreprehendtrychallengetaxcriminateinculpateincriminatechargequerydisparage

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

impeach

verb (tr)
  1. criminal law to bring a charge or accusation against
  2. British criminal law to accuse of a crime, esp of treason or some other offence against the state
  3. mainly US to charge (a public official) with an offence committed in office
  4. to challenge or question (a person's honesty, integrity, etc)
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Derived Formsimpeacher, 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

Word Origin and History for impeach

v.

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper