impediment

noun

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

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 Government instability has been an impediment to growth. David J. Lynch, Washington Post, 10 July 2024 But according to Nosek, the injury is no longer an impediment on his play. Kaushik Sampath, Miami Herald, 10 July 2024 There is no legal impediment to his stepping aside as the presumptive Democratic nominee. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 28 June 2024 Settlements The Biden administration has revived long-standing U.S. policy that the Jewish settlements Israel erects in the West Bank are an impediment to peace. Tribune News Service, The Mercury News, 14 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for impediment 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'impediment.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near impediment

Cite this Entry

“Impediment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impediment. Accessed 22 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

impediment

noun
im·​ped·​i·​ment im-ˈped-ə-mənt How to pronounce impediment (audio)
1
: something that impedes
2
: a defect in speech

Medical Definition

impediment

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

Legal Definition

impediment

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

More from Merriam-Webster on impediment

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