What does Impeach mean?



Impeach has three definitions. It can mean to cast doubt on what someone says, especially when it comes to legal proceedings. In this case the credibility or the validity of what someone says is being questioned. In the case of legal proceedings this is usually done with a witness.

One side will try to make a witness that is helping the other side seem like a liar in the eyes of the judge or jury. An attorney may also try to impeach the character of the witness, which would mean to make the judge or jury think they are not a trustworthy person.

The attorney make not be able to prove they are lying in this particular case, but they may be able to get jurors to believe that they lie often, so what they say cannot be trusted.

Just as a witness’s character can be impeached, other people’s character or judgement can be impeached as well. For example in a business meeting two people may be arguing for their desired outcome. One person may bring up how the other person has made missteps in the past. This is a way to try to impeach their judgement.

  • The defense attorney hoped that the accuser would take the stand, so that he could try to impeach her character.
  • Let’s make this a fair fight about the ideas. Let’s not bring up the past and try to impeach each other’s track records.

Synonyms for Impeach

Here are some synonyms for this definition of impeach.

Disparage- means to represent something as having little worth. As a synonym to impeach it is one’s character or trustworthiness that would be disparaged. In other words what this person has to say is worthless. This could be true or not tue.

  • She tried to get the other kids to stop being the little boy’s friend by making disparaging remarks about him, but it didn’t work.
  • I’m not trying to disparage anyone’s character, I’m just telling you what happened.

Criticize- refers to pointing out someone’s faults in a negative and disapproving way.

  • She feels like she is constantly being criticized by her mother.
  • I don’t want to criticize you, I just want to give you some constructive feedback.

Impeach can also mean to bring an accusation against someone. When using the word impeach the accusation would have to brought against a public official. Different jurisdictions (countries, states, provinces, cities) all have specific rules as to what would constitute an accusation that would be an impeachable offense. 

When this accusation is made it is brought before some sort of tribunal or government body that has the ability to move the accusation forward (or not), and then can ultimately decide what should be done about it. Sometimes that can be sanctions, or sometimes it can lead to impeachment.

  • The possibility of being impeached should dissuade public officials from committing crimes.
  • Is it possible to impeach a local official?

Synonyms and Antonyms for Impeach

Here are some synonyms for this definition of impeach.


Indict- refers to formally charging or accusing someone of a serious crime.

  • He was indicted for murder.
  • He is being investigated for treason, and may soon be indicted.

Accuse- means to claim that someone has done something wrong. The wrongdoing could be something small like taking a pen, or it could be something much bigger and involve accusing someone of legal wrongdoing.

  • The man looked down at the dog disapprovingly and accused him of going to the bathroom in the house.
  • Are you accusing me of a crime?


Confirm- has many meanings, but as an antonym to impeach it means to reinforce someone in their position.

  • Federal judges have to be confirmed before they can serve.
  • The board of directors confirmed the CEO’s position.

Impeachment-  is the removal of a public official from office due to misconduct. As mentioned above the type of conduct that would qualify for an offense that would allow for someone to be removed from office varies. Any public official can be removed.

  • We have begun the necessary steps for impeachment.
  • He choose to step down instead of going through the embarrasing process of impeachment.

In Britain impeach is also used to speak of someone who has been charged with treason or crimes against the state.

  • He is in jail for impeachment.
  • It is important to ensure that public officials do not  fall prey to committing acts of impeachment.
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