[ im-ped-uh-muhnt ]
/ ɪmˈpɛd ə mənt /


obstruction; hindrance; obstacle.
any physical defect that impedes normal or easy speech; a speech disorder.
Chiefly Ecclesiastical Law. a bar, usually of blood or affinity, to marriage: a diriment impediment.
Usually impediments. impedimenta.

Nearby words

  1. impeccant,
  2. impecunious,
  3. impedance,
  4. impedance matching,
  5. impede,
  6. impedimenta,
  7. impedor,
  8. impel,
  9. impellent,
  10. impeller

Origin of impediment

First recorded in 1350–1400; Middle English word from Latin word impedīmentum. See impede, -ment

Related formsim·ped·i·men·tal [im-ped-uh-men-tl] /ɪmˌpɛd əˈmɛn tl/, im·ped·i·men·ta·ry, adjectivenon·im·ped·i·men·tal, adjectivenon·im·ped·i·men·ta·ry, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impediment

British Dictionary definitions for impediment


/ (ɪmˈpɛdɪmənt) /


a hindrance or obstruction
a physical defect, esp one of speech, such as a stammer
plural -ments or -menta (-ˈmɛntə) law an obstruction to the making of a contract, esp a contract of marriage by reason of closeness of blood or affinity
Derived Formsimpedimental or impedimentary, adjective

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 impediment



c.1400, from Latin impedimentem "hindrance," from impedire "impede," literally "to shackle the feet," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + pes (genitive pedis) "foot" (see foot (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for impediment


[ ĭm-pĕdə-mənt ]


Something that impedes; a hindrance or an obstruction.
An organic defect preventing clear articulation of speech.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.