impeach (v.) Look up impeach at
formerly also empeach, late 14c., "to impede, hinder, prevent," from Anglo-French empecher, Old French empeechier "to hinder, stop, impede; capture, trap, ensnare" (12c., Modern French empêcher), from Late Latin impedicare "to fetter, catch, entangle," from assimilated form of in- "into, in" (see in- (2)) + Latin pedica "a shackle, fetter," from pes (genitive pedis) "foot," from PIE root *ped- (1) "a foot" (see foot (n.)). Sense of "accuse a public officer of misconduct" first recorded 1560s, perhaps via Medieval Latin confusion of the word with Latin impetere "attack, accuse" (see impetus). Related: Impeached; impeaching.