impediment

noun
im·​ped·​i·​ment | \ im-ˈpe-də-mənt How to pronounce impediment (audio) \

Definition of impediment

1 : something that impedes especially : an impairment (such as a stutter or a lisp) that interferes with the proper articulation of speech
2 : a bar or hindrance (such as lack of sufficient age) to a lawful marriage

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Did You Know?

Impediment comes from a Latin verb that meant "to interfere with" or "to get in the way of progress", as if by tripping up the feet of someone walking. In English, impediment still suggests an obstruction or obstacle along a path; for example, a lack of adequate roads and bridges would be called an impediment to economic development. Impediments usually get in the way of something we want. So we may speak of an impediment to communication, marriage, or progress--but something that slows the progress of aging, disease, or decay is rarely called an impediment.

Examples of impediment in a Sentence

tough going for the burros on the canyon trail, even without the added impediment of heavy loads

Recent Examples on the Web

Mendez, who was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2007, saw no such impediment. John Myers, latimes.com, "Federal judge denies Trump administration effort to block California's 'sanctuary' law," 5 July 2018 Another impediment is that most 401(k) retirement accounts don’t offer ETFs, leaving a large swath of retail investors unable to vote with their cash. Rachel Evans, Bloomberg.com, "Gun-Free ETFs Are Everywhere But No One's Buying," 1 Mar. 2018 North Carolina State won’t be much of an impediment on Sunday. Michael Beller, SI.com, "Picks: Big 12 Takes Center Stage with West Virginia-Texas Tech, TCU-Oklahoma Matchups," 12 Jan. 2018 Eliminating the penalty for removing loose impediments in a bunker and the general touching of sand with the hand or club (without grounding the club next to the ball). Doug Ferguson, BostonGlobe.com, "There are a whole bunch of new rules in golf," 12 Mar. 2018 Friends building in the area were recently told to expect their building permit in 12 to 18 months, and construction impediments aren’t California’s only challenge. WSJ, "What Incentive Does California Really Give?," 3 Feb. 2019 There are also technological impediments to the cashless takeover. Town & Country, "Is This the End of Cash?," 28 Jan. 2019 Navigating and correcting those impediments is where epigenetics comes in. Marcia Desanctis, Vogue, "Can the Genes Responsible for Aging Be Altered by a Face Cream? These Skin-Care Companies Say Yes," 21 July 2018 Hopefully by eradicating the swimsuit round, people who saw that part of the competition as a challenge or an impediment can now take a second look and reconsider their position. Kira Kazantsev, Time, "'After #MeToo, Miss America Had to Change': A Former Winner on Saying Goodbye to the Swimsuit Competition," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impediment.' 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 impediment

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for impediment

Last Updated

24 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impediment

The first known use of impediment was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for impediment

impediment

noun

English Language Learners Definition of impediment

: something that makes it difficult to do or complete something : something that interferes with movement or progress
: a condition that makes it difficult to speak normally

impediment

noun
im·​ped·​i·​ment | \ im-ˈpe-də-mənt How to pronounce impediment (audio) \

Kids Definition of impediment

1 : something that interferes with movement or progress
2 : a condition that makes it difficult to speak normally

impediment

noun
im·​ped·​i·​ment | \ im-ˈped-ə-mənt How to pronounce impediment (audio) \

Medical Definition of impediment

: something that impedes children with deafness or hearing impediments especially : an impairment (as a stutter or a lisp) that interferes with the proper articulation of speech

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impediment

noun
im·​ped·​i·​ment | \ im-ˈpe-də-mənt How to pronounce impediment (audio) \

Legal Definition of impediment

: something that prevents or interferes with a process, power, or right should have known of the legal impediments to the execution of any judgment against the police juryPenalber v. Blount, 550 So. 2d 577 (1989) specifically : a bar to the formation of a valid contract or marriage — compare nullity

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