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


  1. a hindrance or obstruction
  2. a physical defect, esp one of speech, such as a stammer
  3. 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

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.)).


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