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

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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

Antonyms: Verb

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Does impeach mean "to remove from office"?: Usage Guide

Verb

Testimonial evidence indicates that references to (and calls for) "impeaching" a public official are commonly understood to refer not simply to charging that official with misconduct "before a competent tribunal," but to actually removing the official from office. The interpretation is understandable if not legally accurate, since removal from office is typically the goal of impeachment, and there seems to be little doubt that the "remove" sense is what many people have in mind when they think or talk about impeaching a president, governor, judge, or other official. But clear examples of impeach being used to mean "remove" in published sources are rarely seen (in many contexts, the meaning is ambiguous), and when such use does occur, it is likely to be cited as an error.

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 Currently, voters are sharply divided on whether Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Rick Pearson, chicagotribune.com, "As public hearings begin on Trump impeachment, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich’s removal provides a guide for the process and the rhetoric," 12 Nov. 2019 As for the outcome of the probe, 49% of respondents said Trump should be impeached and removed from office; 46% opposed impeachment and removal. Clare Duffy, CNN, "Republican presidential candidate Joe Walsh says Fox News and conservative radio are lying to Americans," 3 Nov. 2019 Young, 86, was among Republicans voting against continuing an investigation into whether President Donald Trump should be impeached. Anchorage Daily News, "Pressed to defend vote on Trump impeachment investigation, Don Young gives camera a ‘head nudge’," 2 Nov. 2019 In a rare moment of accord, all 12 candidates onstage said that Trump should be impeached. Katie Kilkenny, The Hollywood Reporter, "Trevor Noah Pokes Fun at Democratic Debate's Age Questions, Twitter Spat," 16 Oct. 2019 American voters are currently evenly split on whether President Donald Trump should be impeached and removed from office. Breanna Edwards, Essence, "Support For Impeaching Donald Trump Grows, New Poll Shows," 1 Oct. 2019 Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., blasted those Democratic lawmakers who have publicly considered whether Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh should be impeached. Fox News, "Lindsey Graham says any Kavanaugh impeachment 'dead on arrival' in Senate," 18 Sep. 2019 In his report, Mueller never suggested whether Trump committed a crime or should be impeached for his activities. Ephrat Livni, Quartz, "Republicans believe Ken Starr could save Donald Trump," 24 July 2019 So far, only one Republican, Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, has said Trump should be impeached. oregonlive.com, "Mueller Report play, with cast that includes ‘Star Wars’ and ‘Seinfeld’ stars, live-streams Monday," 24 June 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

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

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Statistics for impeach

Last Updated

16 Nov 2019

Time Traveler for impeach

The first known use of impeach was in 1569

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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

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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

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