im·​pede im-ˈpēd How to pronounce impede (audio)
impeded; impeding

transitive verb

: to interfere with or slow the progress of
impeder noun
Choose the Right Synonym for impede

hinder, impede, obstruct, block mean to interfere with the activity or progress of.

hinder stresses causing harmful or annoying delay or interference with progress.

rain hindered the climb

impede implies making forward progress difficult by clogging, hampering, or fettering.

tight clothing that impedes movement

obstruct implies interfering with something in motion or in progress by the sometimes intentional placing of obstacles in the way.

the view was obstructed by billboards

block implies complete obstruction to passage or progress.

a landslide blocked the road

Example Sentences

He claims that economic growth is being impeded by government regulations. The soldiers could not impede the enemy's advance.
Recent Examples on the Web Was there an attempt to impede any kind of investigation? CBS News, 15 Jan. 2023 Near Montecito, the steep hillsides also impede storms, forcing them to slow down and dump up to two to three times more water on the hillsides than on the coastal plain. Los Angeles Times, 10 Jan. 2023 Alleged cartel members have since besieged parts of the city, with burning vehicles set up as roadblocks in what appeared to be a failed attempt to impede authorities transporting Guzmán out of the city. Anne Laurent, ABC News, 5 Jan. 2023 Rubenacker is one of hundreds of protesters who stormed the Capitol on January 6, 2021 in an attempt to impede the certification of electoral college votes for then President-elect Joe Biden. Anna Kaplan, Forbes, 7 May 2022 Voter advocates assailed the law as a blatant attempt to impede access to the polls so Republicans might retain an advantage., 6 May 2021 Voter advocates assailed the elections law as a blatant attempt to impede access to the polls so Republicans might retain an advantage. Bobby Caina Calvan, David Bauder, Anchorage Daily News, 6 May 2021 By constraining the width of rivers, levees impede that process, limiting the amount of ground that water can reach and filter through. Raymond Zhong Mira Rojanasakul, New York Times, 5 Jan. 2023 Errors in tests, including false negatives (when the test inaccurately states the genetic marker is not present) may impede patients’ access to safe and effective treatments for their cancers. Jeff Allen And Lisa Lacasse, STAT, 30 Nov. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impede.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Latin impedire, from in- + ped-, pes foot — more at foot

First Known Use

circa 1595, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of impede was circa 1595

Dictionary Entries Near impede

Cite this Entry

“Impede.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2023.

Kids Definition


im·​pede im-ˈpēd How to pronounce impede (audio)
impeded; impeding
: to interfere with the movement or progress of
impeder noun

More from Merriam-Webster on impede

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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