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

The single greatest impediment to reining in gun violence in America isn’t the House of Representatives, President Donald Trump, or even the Supreme Court. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "America’s Most Powerful Gun Supporter," 6 Aug. 2019 The second potential impediment to another easy electoral triumph for the PAP is the economy. The Economist, "Even Singapore’s ruling party struggles to plan for everything," 1 Aug. 2019 Another impediment to tamping down tensions is Washington’s threat to blacklist Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who was his country’s negotiator on the nuclear accord and is the face of Iran’s global diplomacy. Melissa Etehad, latimes.com, "Iran poised to press ahead with uranium enrichment despite Trump warning," 3 July 2019 But the current impediment to cordial relations, and the reason nuclear weapons would be intolerable, is the regime. Andrew C. Mccarthy, National Review, "For Regime Change in Iran," 29 June 2019 For smaller businesses, the impediments are more fundamental, said David Grain, CEO of private equity firm Grain Management. Erika Fry, Fortune, "The A.I. Revolution Won't Come Easy For Companies, Execs Say," 11 June 2019 Yet even if those targets are reached, the social impediments in China are formidable: the legacy of the one-child policy, the single-minded focus on education, the lack of a soccer or even a sports culture. New York Times, "China Won’t Play in This World Cup. It Still Hopes to Profit.," 30 May 2018 The shutdown was an impediment, Martin said, but the agency’s challenges in recruiting and retaining firefighters are a complex and long-term problem. Los Angeles Times, "Peak fire season is near and the federal government is short hundreds of firefighters," 23 July 2019 Experts say this step is the true impediment to diversifying the supply chain. Pamela Boykoff, CNN, "This company is America's best chance to loosen China's grip on rare earths," 3 July 2019

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

16 Aug 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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Comments on impediment

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