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

The last time West Virginia's Legislature engaged in anything remotely like this was 1989, when state Treasurer A. James Manchin was impeached by the House after the state lost $279 million invested in the bond market. Fox News, "4 impeached West Virginia justices to face trials," 12 Sep. 2018 If he’s impeached, barring an economic collapse, he won’t be convicted in a million years and his re-election, once unthinkable, now has to be seen as likely. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Is the World Done With Liberal Democracy?," 1 June 2018 The last time a judge was impeached by trial was in 1821, and the last time a judge was removed through a bill was in 1973. Andrea Estes, BostonGlobe.com, "Pittsfield judge who had sex with court clinician set to resign after SJC orders indefinite suspension," 25 May 2018 Park, who was impeached in December 2016 after months of massive street protests, was sentenced to 24 years in prison last month. Thomas Maresca, USA TODAY, "South Korea's Moon Jae-in is more popular than ever," 10 May 2018 Brazilian society remains deeply divided after Lula's successor, President Dilma Rousseff, was impeached and removed from office amid a corruption scandal and economic crisis. Jacob Mcadams, Houston Chronicle, "Early voting beginning May 14 for SJC runoff elections," 8 May 2018 Getty Images Though Clinton was a popular president even at the height of the scandal, during which he was impeached but not removed from office, and his reputation has largely recovered. Samantha Cooney, Time, "Here's What Monica Lewinsky Is Doing 20 Years Later," 4 May 2018 Thus far, only two presidents in history have been impeached. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "What Will Actually Happen to Trump?," 19 Dec. 2018 There are legal questions about whether a sitting U.S. president can be charged with crimes while in office, and the ability to impeach and remove Trump from office rests with Congress, which remains under the control of the Republicans. Cindy Otis, Teen Vogue, "What the Manafort Verdict Means for President Donald Trump," 23 Aug. 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

12 Jan 2019

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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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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