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

Democratic presidential candidates have also started speaking out more forcefully about their desire to see Trump impeached. John Wagner, Twin Cities, "Nancy Pelosi tells colleagues she wants to see Trump ‘in prison,’ not impeached," 6 June 2019 When, in February 1868, the president violated a new law, the Tenure of Office Act, Republican leaders resolved to impeach and convict him. Michael Kazin, The New Republic, "The Impossibility of Impeachment," 10 June 2019 Under this interpretation, Trump would have to resign or be impeached first, and then could be criminally charged afterwards. Tessa Berenson, Time, "Rudy Giuliani Just Conceded That the President Can Commit Obstruction of Justice," 18 May 2018 So all that talk about impeaching Trump must wait until after hours. Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox, "Federal employees are now barred from mentioning “the #resistance” at work," 30 Nov. 2018 Temer became president in August 2016 after President Dilma Roussef was impeached and removed from office, and his term ended on Jan. 1, when President Jair Bolsonaro was sworn in. Diane Jeantet, The Seattle Times, "Ex-Brazilian President Temer released from jail after 5 days," 25 Mar. 2019 If Donald Trump tries to pardon himself then he will get impeached. NBC News, "Meet the Press - June 3, 2018," 3 June 2018 He should be impeached for gutting our environmental protections, not for his first-class flights. Basav Sen, Fortune, "Commentary: Scott Pruitt Should Be Impeached for Gutting the EPA, Not His First-Class Flights," 3 May 2018 Blagojevich’s notoriety -- he was impeached before being convicted on federal charges -- makes Pritzker’s association with him even less appealing. Bloomberg.com, "Pritzker’s $171,000-a-Day Campaign Costs Him in Illinois Race," 28 Feb. 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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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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