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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Frequently Asked Questions About impeach

Are presidents removed from office when they are impeached?

Not necessarily. In the United States a president is impeached by the members of the House of Representatives. Once this body has drawn up charges and had them approved by a majority of House members, the Senate holds a trial. If a two-thirds majority of the Senate votes to convict then the president may be removed from office.

Which presidents were impeached?

Three Presidents of the United States have been impeached: Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donald Trump.

Can people other than the President be impeached?

Impeachment procedures vary from country to country, but the United States Constitution states that "The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors." A wide range of officials (including judges, presidents, and senators) have been impeached in the U.S.

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 McConnell seemed not to understand that when the Democrats moved to investigate Trump and impeach him, that meant his critics had, in fact, accepted the reality of his victory. Washington Post, "The president is golfing and exercising White male privilege," 18 Nov. 2020 Scholten and Meijer vied for the seat being vacated by Rep. Justin Amash, a former Republican who renounced the party and voted to impeach President Donald Trump. Dave Boucher, Detroit Free Press, "Peter Meijer defeats Hillary Scholten in west Michigan congressional race," 6 Nov. 2020 The incumbent voted against President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, and voted to impeach Trump. al, "Doug Jones only Democrat among America’s 10 most vulnerable senators," 2 Nov. 2020 The four freshmen congresswomen have supported ambitious progressive proposals like the Green New Deal, a higher minimum wage, and calls to impeach President Trump. Caitlin O'kane, CBS News, "All four members of "The Squad" win reelection in their congressional races," 5 Nov. 2020 Allred was criticized by Republicans for voting to impeach President Trump, a move Sessions said violated his pledge to be bipartisan. Dallas News, "Democrat Colin Allred, Republican Genevieve Collins tout bipartisanship in critical District 32 race for Congress," 26 Oct. 2020 Three of them last month moved to impeach him in a longshot bid that hasn’t gained any traction. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, "DeWine on getting booed at Trump campaign event: ‘Look, we’re making tough decisions’," 17 Sep. 2020 Becker first tried to impeach and later criminally charge DeWine for how the GOP governor handled the state's novel coronavirus crisis. Jessie Balmert, The Enquirer, "Ohio Rep. John Becker wants Ohio AG Dave Yost to resign, apologize for bullying," 26 Oct. 2020 Repeals the authority for the Legislature to impeach judges. Mike Cason | Mcason@al.com, al, "Here’s 6 statewide constitutional amendments on ballot, and what they mean to you," 25 Oct. 2020

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impeach

Time Traveler for impeach

Time Traveler

The first known use of impeach was in 1569

See more words from the same year

Statistics for impeach

Last Updated

25 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Impeach.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impeach. Accessed 1 Dec. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on impeach

What made you want to look up impeach? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!