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 matching of jobs and job seekers by skills, aptitudes and geography is not an immediate process , and the high cost of housing in areas with high labor demand has been an impediment. Michael Bernick, Forbes, 8 Sep. 2021 But that disparity in patient care was never an impediment; a somewhat primitive hospital was still preferred over no hospital at all. Dana Kelley, Arkansas Online, 9 July 2021 And the lack of reliable numbers itself is also an impediment, obscuring the true toll of hate crimes. Washington Post, 26 Apr. 2021 The issues can also be a serious impediment to a broader economic recovery. Amy Davidson Sorkin, The New Yorker, 26 Sep. 2021 Terrain has also been a major impediment, as the blaze has made its way into mountainous and hilly areas that are not easy to access. Omar Shaikh Rashad, San Francisco Chronicle, 21 July 2021 Remember that the signals traveling down some of these wires are only millivolts and almost any resistance in those wires is a major impediment for those wires to work. Mike Allen, Popular Mechanics, 7 July 2021 But that guidance was a significant impediment to any full-bore reopening, because most schools could not maintain that kind of distance and still accommodate all their students and teachers. New York Times, 16 June 2021 There would be no impediment at all to driving extremely long distances. James Morris, Forbes, 4 Sep. 2021

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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Time Traveler for impediment

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

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Dictionary Entries Near impediment

impedient impediment

impediment

impedimenta

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Statistics for impediment

Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Impediment.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impediment. Accessed 23 Oct. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on impediment

Nglish: Translation of impediment for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of impediment for Arabic Speakers

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