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.
- 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)
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.