[ 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 formsim·peach·er, nounun·im·peached, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impeach

British Dictionary definitions for impeach


/ (ɪmˈpiːtʃ) /

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