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From Middle English impediment, borrowed from Latin impedimentum.


  • IPA(key): /ɪmˈpɛdɪmənt/
  • (file)


impediment (plural impediments)

  1. A hindrance; that which impedes or obstructs progress.
    • 1549, “Of Matrimonye”, in The Booke of Common Prayer and Administracion of the Sacramentes[1]:
      I require and charge you (as you will aunswere at the dreadefull daye of iudgemente, when the secretes of all hartes shalbee disclosed) that if either of you doe knowe any impedimente why ye maie not bee lawfully ioyned together in matrimonie, that ye confesse it.
    • c. 1593 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tragedy of Richard the Third: []”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies [] (First Folio), London: [] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act V, scene ii]:
      Thus far into the bowels of the land
      Have we marched on without impediment.
    • 1720, Alexander Pope, letter to Robert Digby dated 20 July, 1720, in Mr. Pope’s Literary Correspondence for Thirty Years; from 1704 to 1734, London: E. Curll, 1735, p. 129,[2]
      Your kind Desire to know the State of my Health had not been unsatisfied of so long, had not that ill State been the Impediment.
    • 1818, Mary Shelley, chapter 2, in Frankenstein[3], archived from the original on 3 April 2012:
      I had gazed upon the fortifications and impediments that seemed to keep human beings from entering the citadel of nature, and rashly and ignorantly I had repined.
    • 1993, Carol Shields, chapter 2, in The Stone Diaries[4], Toronto: Random House of Canada, page 64:
      Patterns incised on this mineral form seem to evade the eye; you have to stand at a certain distance, and in a particular light, to make them out. This impediment is part of the charm for him.
  2. A disability, especially one affecting the hearing or speech.
    Working in a noisy factory left me with a slight hearing impediment.
    • 1611, The Holy Bible, [] (King James Version), London: [] Robert Barker, [], →OCLC, Mark 7:32:
      And they bring unto him one that was deaf, and had an impediment in his speech; and they beseech him to put his hand upon him.
    • 1730, Joseph Addison, The Evidences of the Christian Religion, London: J. Tonson, Additional Discourses, Section 10, p. 308,[5]
      Let us suppose a person blind and deaf from his birth, who being grown to man’s estate, is by the Dead-palsy, or some other cause, deprived of his Feeling, Tasting, and Smelling; and at the same time has the impediment of his Hearing removed, and the film taken from his eyes []
    • 1858, Thomas Carlyle, History of Friedrich II. of Prussia[6], Leipzig: Bernhard Tauchnitz, Volume 2, Book 5, Chapter 6, p. 9:
      Better for you not to be tall! In fact it is almost a kindness of Heaven to be gifted with some safe impediment of body, slightly crooked back or the like, if you much dislike the career of honor under Friedrich Wilhelm.
    • 1931, Dashiell Hammett, chapter 3, in The Glass Key[7], New York: Vintage, published 1972, page 56:
      [] Walter Ivans replied as rapidly as the impediment in his speech permitted.
  3. (chiefly in the plural) Baggage, especially that of an army; impedimenta.
    • 1913, Thomas McManus, “The Battle of Irish Bend”, in The Twenty-Fifth Regiment Connecticut Volunteers in the War of the Rebellion[8], Rockville, Connecticut, page 36:
      We were all on foot, officers and men alike. Our horses, baggage, and impediments had been left at Brashear to follow the column of General Emory.


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Borrowed from Latin impedimentum.


impediment n (plural impedimente)

  1. impediment