impeach

verb
im·​peach | \im-ˈpēch \
impeached; impeaching; impeaches

Definition of impeach 

(Entry 1 of 2)

transitive verb

1a : to charge with a crime or misdemeanor specifically : to charge (a public official) before a competent tribunal with misconduct in office

b : to remove from office especially for misconduct

c : to bring an accusation against

2 : to cast doubt on especially : to challenge the credibility or validity of impeach the testimony of a witness

impeach

noun

Definition of impeach (Entry 2 of 2)

obsolete

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Other Words from impeach

Verb

impeachable \ im-​ˈpē-​chə-​bəl \ adjective
impeachment \ im-​ˈpēch-​mənt \ noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for impeach

Synonyms: Verb

accuse, charge, criminate, defame [archaic], incriminate, indict

Antonyms: Verb

absolve, acquit, clear, exculpate, exonerate, vindicate

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Did You Know?

Only two presidents have faced an impeachment trial, both of them Democrats and both of them acquitted. The first was Andrew Johnson, who in 1868 was acquitted by one vote of violating the previous year’s Tenure of Office Act. The second was Bill Clinton, who in 1998 was acquitted by a much larger margin of perjury and obstructing justice in relation to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. But only one president, Republican Richard Nixon, has ever resigned, and that was to avoid inevitable impeachment for corruption in relation to the Watergate scandal. Nixon was granted an unconditional pardon by his successor Gerald Ford.

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

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh argued in 1998 that President Bill Clinton could be impeached for lying about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. Richard Wolf, USA TODAY, "Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's views on executive power may stir controversy," 12 July 2018 Now that doesn’t mean a sitting president, of course, can’t be impeached. Jen Kirby, Vox, "7 legal experts on how Kavanaugh views executive power — and what it could mean for Mueller," 11 July 2018 No statewide officeholder has been impeached in the state's history, said James Madison, an Indiana University historian. Kaitlin Lange, Indianapolis Star, "Curtis Hill scandal threatens his future — and stability in Indiana Statehouse," 8 July 2018 Had that ruling been followed, the president would have lost his majority in parliament and might have been impeached. The Economist, "Democracy is foundering in the Maldives," 21 June 2018 The Whitewater probe largely wrapped with the publication of the Starr report and his recommendation that Clinton be impeached, but the office carried on for years, issuing reports years after Clinton left office in 2001. Z. Byron Wolf, CNN, "Which is the greatest 'witch hunt' in US political history?," 18 May 2018 They were never charged, and Bill Clinton was impeached, but not convicted and removed, for obstructing justice. Matt Zapotosky, Anchorage Daily News, "Special counsel Mueller’s investigation enters Year 2: What comes next - and how it could end," 17 May 2018 Bill Clinton was impeached — fairly or not — for lying to the public (and in legal proceedings) about his extramarital affair, and the evidence that Trump also lied publicly in a nearly identical fashion is mounting. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "What's a guy gotta do to get impeached in Trump's out-of-control America? | Will Bunch," 10 Apr. 2018 President Bill Clinton was impeached in 1998 based upon perjury and obstruction of justice, but was not removed from office. NBC News, "Trump team's moving of Stormy Daniels suit carries risks," 18 Mar. 2018

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.

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First Known Use of impeach

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1c

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

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Dictionary Entries near impeach

impavid

impawn

impayable

impeach

impearl

impeccable

impeccancy

Statistics for impeach

Last Updated

2 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impeach

The first known use of impeach was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for impeach

impeach

verb

English Language Learners Definition of impeach

: to charge (a public official) with a crime done while in office

: to cause doubts about the truthfulness of (a witness, testimony, etc.)

impeach

verb
im·​peach | \im-ˈpēch \
impeached; impeaching

Kids Definition of impeach

: to charge a public official formally with misconduct in office

impeach

transitive verb
im·​peach | \im-ˈpēch \

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

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