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

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 Older workers are more likely to have impediments, including vision challenges and pain, that may qualify them for disability. Eric Morath, WSJ, "America’s Hidden Workforce Returns," 26 Jan. 2019 Some Saudis this week said the kingdom’s laws weren’t the real impediment to change, but that the rules come from biases against women ingrained deep in society. Michael Amon, WSJ, "Saudi Woman’s Asylum Plea Jumpstarts Opposition to Restrictive Law," 11 Jan. 2019 Her twins, now seven, have hand-eye coordination issues and speech impediments—including other behavioral issues, such as lack of impulse control, says Walters. Sarah Hurtes, Harper's BAZAAR, "Women Who Risk Everything to Defend the Environment," 30 Nov. 2018 As a plug-in hybrid, the Clarity steps over the biggest impediment in consumers' minds about battery electrics: limited range. Jim Resnick, Ars Technica, "2018 Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid: Put simply, it’s complicated," 19 Apr. 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

15 Mar 2019

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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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