about to happen; imminent: their impending marriage.
imminently threatening or menacing: an impending storm.
Archaic. overhanging.

Origin of impending

First recorded in 1675–85; impend + -ing2
Can be confusedpending impending

Synonyms for impending

1. See imminent.



verb (used without object)

to be imminent; be about to happen.
to threaten or menace: He felt that danger impended.
Archaic. to hang or be suspended; overhang (usually followed by over).

Origin of impend

First recorded in 1580–90, impend is from the Latin word impendēre to hang over, threaten. See im-1, pend
Related formssu·per·im·pend, verb (used without object) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for impending

Contemporary Examples of impending

Historical Examples of impending

  • The steps suggested to meet this impending calamity were strange enough.

    The Grand Old Man

    Richard B. Cook

  • For all felt a blow to be impending, and only marvelled at its being so long withheld.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Tito began to be much preoccupied with her impending duties.

    Johnny Bear

    E. T. Seton

  • In vague ways it was borne in upon him that a change was impending.

    White Fang

    Jack London

  • I troubled myself with the care of that which was not impending over me.

    Wilfrid Cumbermede

    George MacDonald

British Dictionary definitions for impending



about to happen; imminent


verb (intr)

(esp of something threatening) to be about to happen; be imminent
(foll by over) rare to be suspended; hang
Derived Formsimpendence or impendency, noun

Word Origin for impend

C16: from Latin impendēre to overhang, from pendēre to hang
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 impending



1590s, from figurative use of Latin impendere "to hang over, to be imminent," from assimilated form of in- "into, in, on, upon" (see in- (2)) + pendere "hang" (see pendant). Related: Impended; impending.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper