[im-peech-muh nt]


the impeaching of a public official before an appropriate tribunal.
(in Congress or a state legislature) the presentation of formal charges against a public official by the lower house, trial to be before the upper house.
demonstration that a witness is less worthy of belief.
the act of impeaching.
the state of being impeached.

Origin of impeachment

1350–1400; Middle English empechement < Anglo-French. See impeach, -ment
Related formsnon·im·peach·ment, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impeachment

Contemporary Examples of impeachment

Historical Examples of impeachment

  • In the Andrew Johnson impeachment case was it not better that things were as they were?

    'Tis Sixty Years Since

    Charles Francis Adams

  • That fat fool Albemarle had swallowed my impeachment like a draught of muscadine.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • "Ah, no," she pleaded—she knew how true was the impeachment.

    Mistress Wilding

    Rafael Sabatini

  • He admitted the impeachment in the midst of his astonishment with an abruptness equal to her own.

    The Golden Woman

    Ridgwell Cullum

  • The Commons insisted on carrying his impeachment to the bar of the Lords.

British Dictionary definitions for impeachment



rare (in England) committal by the House of Commons, esp of a minister of the Crown, for trial by the House of Lords. The last instance occurred in 1805
(in the US) a proceeding brought against a federal government official
an accusation or charge
obsolete discredit; reproach
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 impeachment

late 14c., enpechement "accusation, charge," from Old French empechement, from empeechier (see impeach). As a judicial proceeding against a public official, from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

impeachment in Culture


A formal accusation of wrongdoing against a public official. According to the United States Constitution, the House of Representatives can vote to impeach an official, but the Senate actually tries the case. Several presidencies have been blemished by impeachment or the threat of impeachment: President Andrew Johnson was impeached after the Civil War but was acquitted. President Richard Nixon resigned from office as the House of Representatives prepared to initiate impeachment proceedings. President William Jefferson Clinton was impeached in 1998 but was acquitted by the Senate the following year.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.