impeach

verb
im·​peach | \ im-ˈpēch How to pronounce impeach (audio) \
impeached; impeaching; impeaches

Definition of impeach

 (Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1 : to charge with a crime or misdemeanor specifically : to charge (a public official) before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office After Andrew Johnson, the first president to be impeached, finished his chaotic and disgraceful administration, Grant was the inevitable successor. — Richard Brookhiser
2 : to cast doubt on especially : to challenge the credibility or validity of impeach the testimony of a witness The Husby's credit rating was impeached because IRS managers were unable to stop the … computer from generating false information. — David Burnham A basic rule of evidence permits any witness to be impeached by establishing that she made a prior statement inconsistent with the current testimony. — Jack H. Friedenthal et al.

impeach

noun

Definition of impeach (Entry 2 of 2)

obsolete

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from impeach

Verb

impeachable \ im-​ˈpē-​chə-​bəl How to pronounce impeachable (audio) \ adjective
impeachment \ im-​ˈpēch-​mənt How to pronounce impeachment (audio) \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for impeach

Synonyms: Verb

Antonyms: Verb

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Frequently Asked Questions About impeach

Are presidents removed from office when they are impeached?

Not necessarily. In the United States a president is impeached by the members of the House of Representatives. Once this body has drawn up charges and had them approved by a majority of House members, the Senate holds a trial. If a two-thirds majority of the Senate votes to convict then the president may be removed from office.

Which presidents were impeached?

Three Presidents of the United States have been impeached: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump.

Can people other than the President be impeached?

Impeachment procedures vary from country to country, but the United States Constitution states that "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." A wide range of officials (including judges, presidents, and senators) have been impeached in the U.S.

Examples of impeach in a Sentence

Verb Congress will vote on whether or not to impeach the President. The defense lawyers tried to impeach the witness's testimony by forcing him to admit that he had changed his story.
Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Now, more than 30 members of Congress are backing a resolution to investigate and impeach Barr for abusing his power and misusing resources (pdf) based on Elias’s testimony. Jenni Avins, Quartz, "Does the cannabis industry have a monopoly problem?," 7 July 2020 The threshold is higher than what is required to impeach a sitting governor, Mitchell said. Christen Smith, Washington Examiner, "Pennsylvania Supreme Court upholds governor’s disaster declaration," 2 July 2020 But the issue ended up as a largely partisan exercise, with House Democrats voting to impeach Trump and Senate Republicans voting to acquit. Washington Post, "Trump’s two Russias confound coherent US policy," 1 July 2020 Abuse of power was at the heart of House Democrats’ case to impeach Trump. Philip Rucker, BostonGlobe.com, "Bolton book and Supreme Court ruling on ‘dreamers’ amount to twin defeats to Trump," 18 June 2020 During the National Prayer Breakfast in February, Trump used his speech to make political attacks, mocking the faith of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, after both voted to impeach him for abuse of power. Author: Toluse Olorunnipa, Sarah Pulliam Bailey, Anchorage Daily News, "Trump’s latest actions follow pattern of using religion political tool," 3 June 2020 Trump became the third president in U.S. history to be impeached. Mica Soellner, Washington Examiner, "Bill Kristol says GOP will be 'an unhealthy party until there’s an explicit repudiation of Trump'," 13 May 2020 Trump is marked with the dubious honor of being the third-ever president to be impeached by the House, but Democrats say his acquittal will embolden the president. Paul Cobler, Dallas News, "Houston Astros should be stripped of 2017 World Series title, nationwide poll says," 11 Feb. 2020 Last December, Trump became the third American president to be impeached. Tim Darnell, ajc, "WATCH LIVE: Senators speak before historic Trump impeachment vote," 5 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impeach.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of impeach

Verb

1569, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

1590, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for impeach

Verb

Middle English empechen, from Anglo-French empecher, enpechier to ensnare, impede, prosecute, from Late Latin impedicare to fetter, from Latin in- + pedica fetter, from ped-, pes foot — more at foot

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impeach

Time Traveler for impeach

Time Traveler

The first known use of impeach was in 1569

See more words from the same year

Statistics for impeach

Last Updated

16 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impeach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impeach. Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for impeach

impeach

verb
How to pronounce impeach (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of impeach

law
: to charge (a public official) with a crime done while in office
formal : to cause doubts about the truthfulness of (a witness, testimony, etc.)

impeach

verb
im·​peach | \ im-ˈpēch How to pronounce impeach (audio) \
impeached; impeaching

Kids Definition of impeach

: to charge a public official formally with misconduct in office
im·​peach | \ im-ˈpēch How to pronounce impeach (audio) \

Legal Definition of impeach

1 : to charge with a crime or misconduct specifically : to charge (a public official) before a competent tribunal (as the U.S. Senate) with misconduct in office

Note: Impeachment is the first step in removing an officer from office. The president, vice president, and other federal officers (as judges) may be impeached by the House of Representatives. (Members of Congress themselves are not removed by being impeached and tried, but rather are expelled by a two-thirds majority vote in the member's house.) The House draws up articles of impeachment that itemize the charges and their factual bases. The articles of impeachment, once approved by a simple majority of the House members, are then submitted to the Senate, thereby impeaching the officer. The Senate then holds a trial, at the conclusion of which each member votes for or against conviction on each article of impeachment. Two-thirds of the Senate members present must vote in favor of conviction. Once convicted, the officer can be removed from office. Although the Constitution specifies that an officer is to be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, impeachment can also occur for misconduct that is not necessarily criminal (as violation of the Constitution). Because impeachment is the first step taken to remove an officer from office, impeach is often used in general contexts to refer to the removal itself, but that is not its specific legal meaning. An officer generally cannot be impeached for acts done prior to taking office.

2 : to cast doubt on: as
a : to attack the validity of (a judgment or verdict) because of judicial or juror misconduct
b : to challenge the credibility of (a witness) or the validity of (a witness's testimony) a witness, including a criminal defendant who testifies in his own behalf, may be impeached on the ground of former conviction— W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr. — see also impeachment evidence at evidence — compare rehabilitate

Note: A witness may be impeached by character evidence or circumstantial evidence relating to the credibility of the witness, and especially on the grounds of prior convictions, prior inconsistent statements, contradiction by other evidence, and the witness's reputation for truth, prior acts of misconduct, and partiality.

Other Words from impeach

impeachable adjective
impeachment noun

History and Etymology for impeach

Anglo-French empecher, from Old French empeechier to hinder, from Late Latin impedicare to fetter, from Latin in- + pedica fetter, from ped-, pes foot

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on impeach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impeach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impeach

Spanish Central: Translation of impeach

Nglish: Translation of impeach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impeach for Arabic Speakers

Comments on impeach

What made you want to look up impeach? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!