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

Keep scrolling for more

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 practice has been an impediment to the public’s understanding of police abuses in the city. Lillian Reed, baltimoresun.com, "Mayor and City Council split over ‘gag orders’ in city settlements, including in cases of police abuse," 17 Sep. 2019 But even that amount is optimistic; cost constraints have been an impediment to development for years. Justine Calma, The Verge, "Stripe will pay $1 million a year to take carbon out of the air — but will it work?," 19 Aug. 2019 Anything that stands between these visionaries and we, the listeners, is an impediment to what matters most: the sound of music. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Big screens and other distractions keep invading our concert spaces. Can we just focus on the music?," 26 June 2019 For the Nets, Crabbe's $18.5 million 2019-20 salary, the lone season remaining on his contract, was an impediment to the possibility of adding a pair of A-list free agents this offseason. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "Winderman: Best Heat option could be branching into banking | Commentary," 8 June 2019 McFaul, the former chief of staff, doesn't think Miller's lobbying work would be an impediment to confirmation given that he's worked with Bernie Sanders, I-VT. Ledyard King, USA TODAY, "With Ronny Jackson out, former congressman Jeff Miller emerges as possible pick for VA secretary," 30 Apr. 2018 Production at about 33 manufacturing plants in nine states and other work at 22 distribution warehouses was expected to be halted by the strike, making the action a severe impediment to GM’s ability to produce automobiles. BostonGlobe.com, "Representatives for both the company and United Auto Workers, which is leading the strike, expressed hopes for a near-term fix but details remained scarce. PresidentTrump also weighed in, saying Monday afternoon that ‘‘I am sad to see the strike. Hopefully it is going to be a quick one.’’," 17 Sep. 2019 They are also considered to be a major impediment to peace in the festering Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been running for more than 70 years. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, "It's Israel's election but here's why Donald Trump is the 'King of Israel'," 16 Sep. 2019 Production at about 33 manufacturing plants in nine states and other work at 22 distribution warehouses was expected to be halted by the strike, making the action a severe impediment to GM’s ability to produce automobiles. Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, "GM strike lurches on as Trump and other political leaders watch and wait," 16 Sep. 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.

See More

First Known Use of impediment

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about impediment

Statistics for impediment

Last Updated

11 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impediment

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

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on impediment

What made you want to look up impediment? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

tired or exhausted

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!