impeach

verb
im·​peach | \ im-ˈpēch How to pronounce impeach (audio) \
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 How to pronounce impeachable (audio) \ adjective
impeachment \ im-​ˈpēch-​mənt How to pronounce impeachment (audio) \ 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

The committee is expected to soon make a recommendation on whether to impeach Greitens, which would then go to a vote of the full state House. Rebecca Berg, CNN, "Missouri House committee subpoenas embattled governor to testify," 25 May 2018 Lawmakers are convened in a special session to consider whether to impeach the governor and remove him from office. Jason Hancock, kansascity, "Missouri officials scrutinizing Greitens’ use of private lawyers paid by taxpayers | The Kansas City Star," 25 May 2018 López Obrador was almost impeached over an unrelated contempt of court charge, and then lost his first presidential bid by a tiny margin. Maya Averbuch, The New Republic, "What Turns an Outsider Into a President?," 23 May 2018 If the House votes to impeach Greitens, the Senate then would appoint a judicial panel to preside over a trial on whether he should be removed from office. David A. Lieb And Summer Ballentine, chicagotribune.com, "Lawmakers press Missouri governor investigation despite dropped criminal case," 15 May 2018 Missouri’s Republican legislative leaders renewed calls for Greitens to resign and confirmed they still will convene Friday in a monthlong special session to consider whether to impeach Greitens in an attempt to remove him from office. David A. Lieb, The Seattle Times, "Sex-related charge dropped against Missouri governor," 14 May 2018 If the House votes to impeach Greitens, the Senate then would appoint a panel of judges to conduct a trial on whether to remove him from office. CBS News, "Greitens impeachment to be considered by lawmakers in special session," 3 May 2018 Missouri’s Republican-held House and Senate called a special session to consider impeaching embattled GOP Gov. Eric Greitens. Shayndi Raice, WSJ, "Missouri Legislature Calls Special Session to Consider Impeaching Governor Eric Greitens," 3 May 2018 Will Nancy Pelosi be impeached as House Speaker? Don’t laugh. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "The Unimpeachable Pelosi," 12 Mar. 2019

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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More Definitions for impeach

impeach

verb

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

impeach

transitive verb
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

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More from Merriam-Webster on impeach

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impeach

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impeach

Spanish Central: Translation of impeach

Nglish: Translation of impeach for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impeach for Arabic Speakers

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