Impeachment Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How to Use It?

Wondering what impeachment means? Wonder no more! Read on to discover everything you need to know about the meaning of impeachment.

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Did you know that three United States presidents have been formally impeached by congress? No, really — Andrew Johnson, Bill Clinton, and Donal Trump have all faced impeachment. That said, do you know what impeachment means? Not to worry, we’ll tell you. 

Read on as we explore the term impeachment to uncover its definition, origin, and more. 

What Is the Definition of Impeachment?

Impeachment simply stated is the act of impeaching, or better stated, the impeaching of a public official before an appropriate court of law. Cambridge English Dictionary defines “impeachment” as a transitive verb referring to a charge with a crime or to cast doubt upon another. explains impeachment as an obstruction, impediment, or hindrance.

While the word impeachment may lead you to think of something a bit more fun — like canning peaches, perhaps — it ultimately refers to the formal document used to accuse a public official of misconduct. 

What Exactly Is Impeachment?

As authorized by Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, impeachment is the formal process that allows congress to bring charges of bribery, treason, and high crimes and misdemeanors. 

The United States Constitution’s Article I, section 2 states that the House of Representatives is the only branch of government that can begin impeachment proceedings. However, the U.S. Senate holds the power to try all impeachments. All civil officers — be it a chief justice, the vice president, or even the president — can be subject to impeachment. 

The legislative branch can press misconduct charges against a sitting president. However, the trial will always be held in the U.S. Senate. A two-thirds majority vote is required for a conviction to be upheld during this impeachment process. 

What Is the Etymology of Impeachment?

To really understand the meaning of a word, one of the best tools is by studying a word’s origin — AKA, its etymology! 

Etymology, in essence, is the back story of a word, tracing all the places and ways it has changed over time, from its spelling to definition and more.

Impeachment, formerly enpechement, had its first noted use in the late 14th century, deriving from Old French empeechement — meaning hindrance or difficulty. It wasn’t until around the 1640s was the term used in direct reference to a judicial proceeding.

What Are the Synonyms and Antonyms of Impeachment?

If you look to a trusted thesaurus, you will quickly learn that there is quite an array of words we can use in place of the noun impeachment. These synonyms are phrases or words with similar or the same definition as another word. 

Not only do synonyms and antonyms help us avoid repeating ourselves in conversation, but they are also an outstanding way to expand our knowledge of the English language.

Below are example synonyms provided by Power Thesaurus:

  • Squawk
  • Bill of indictment
  • Denouncement
  • Suit at law
  • Slur
  • Judicial proceedings
  • Prosecution
  • Bill of indictment
  • Reprobation
  • Accusation
  • Arraignment
  • Inculpation
  • Industrial tribunal
  • Animadversion
  • Expostulation
  • Court case
  • Legal proceedings
  • Opposition
  • Bringing of charges
  • Tirade
  • Legal action
  • Condemnation
  • Rebuke
  • Bringing to book
  • Litigation
  • Action
  • Proceedings
  • Presentment
  • Claim
  • Dehtronment
  • Ejecting 

When a word has the opposite meaning to your original, we refer to these as antonyms. Just like synonyms, these alternate words are a great way to understand the definition of the original word better. 

Below are example antonyms provided as well by Power Thesaurus:

  • Indictment
  • Arraignment
  • Accusation
  • Allegation
  • Prosecution
  • Charge
  • Flattery
  • Lawsuit
  • Exculpate
  • Incrimination
  • Suit
  • Acquit
  • Citation
  • Praise
  • Bill of indictment
  • Blame
  • Approval
  • Commendation
  • Inculpation
  • Absolve
  • Exonerate

How Can Impeachment Be Used in a Sentence?

As we help you along on your journey to discover the meaning behind the word impeachment, let’s now shift our focus to how to use the noun in a sentence properly. Below you will find examples of the proper usage of impeachment in a sentence.

Try using this word of the day in a sentence today! 

Did you know that impeachment is instituted by a written accusation, called an Article of Impeachment?

The public seemed to regard the impeachment trial as a waste of time since the ultimate result wasn’t clear. 

In the case of presidential trials, the chief justice of the U.S. presided.

Article Two says that all civil officers of the United States can face impeachment, not just the President of the United States or the vice president. 

Former United States President Donald Trump was impeached not once, but twice.


ICYMI: impeachment can be defined as the process by which a legislative body or other legally constituted tribunal initiates charges against a public official — such as the president, vice president, members of congress, or civil officers — for misconduct.

We hope this guide has provided you with a clear understanding of the word impeachment. To discover additional terms, feel free to explore our website, where you’ll also find useful grammar tools, helpful tips, and more. 


  1. IMPEACHMENT : definition | Cambridge English Dictionary
  2. US Senate: About Impeachment | US Senate 
  3. Impeachment synonym Words and Phrases for Impeachment | Power Thesaurus