Also found in: Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.
Related to impediment: Speech impediment


a. Something that impedes; a hindrance or obstruction.
b. Law Something that obstructs the making of a legal contract.
2. A physical defect, especially one that interferes with speech.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin impedīmentum, from impedīre, to impede; see impede.]

im·ped′i·men′tal (-mĕn′tl), im·ped′i·men′ta·ry (-mĕn′tə-rē) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


npl -ments or -menta (-ˈmɛntə)
1. a hindrance or obstruction
2. a physical defect, esp one of speech, such as a stammer
3. (Law) law an obstruction to the making of a contract, esp a contract of marriage by reason of closeness of blood or affinity
imˌpediˈmental, imˌpediˈmentary adj
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ɪmˈpɛd ə mənt)

1. obstruction; hindrance; obstacle.
2. any physical defect that impedes normal or easy speech.
3. a bar, usu. of blood or affinity, to marriage.
[1350–1400; Middle English < Latin impedīmentum]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.



(See also THWARTING.)

albatross around the neck See BURDEN.

ball and chain See BURDEN.

bottleneck A narrow passage; an impasse; congestion or constriction; a traffic jam. The reference is to the thin, narrow neck of a bottle, which is necessarily constrictive. By extension, the word is used for any point at which passage or flow becomes impeded because the volume of a larger area must move into a smaller. The equivalent French term is embouteillage. The word appeared in print by 1907 in the Westminster Gazette.

choke-pear Something difficult or impossible to “swallow”; something “hard to take”; a difficulty. The figurative sense of this term is an extension of its literal meaning, i.e., a variety of pear with a harsh, bitter taste. Samuel Collins used the expression in Epphata to F.T. (1617):

S. Austens testimony … is a choke-pear that you cannot swallow.

The term has been used literally since 1530 and figuratively since 1573.

cooling card Anything that diminishes or lessens a person’s ardor or enthusiasm; a damper. According to the OED, cooling card is apparently a term of some unknown game and is used figuratively or punningly with the meaning above. This expression, now obsolete, dates from 1577. In Henry Dircks’ Life the Marquis of Worcester is quoted as using it thus in 1664:

It would … prove a cooling card to many, whose zeal otherwise would transport them.

fly in the ointment A triviality which ruins an otherwise enjoyable occasion; a negative element or consideration. The Biblical origin of this expression appears in Ecclesiastes (10:1):

Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour.

In modern usage, the phrase implies minor inconvenience or un timeliness:

The present situation is not without its ‘fly in the ointment’ for those motorists who have patriotically lent the assistance of their cars to the military authorities. (Scotsman, September, 1914)

a lump in the throat A choked-up or tight feeling in the throat at times of deep emotion. A person usually gets a lump in his throat when he is very touched and on the verge of tears—either from happiness or from sadness. A literal lump in the throat would inhibit speech and swallowing. The figurative expression has been in use since the latter half of the 19th century.

A lump always comes into my throat when I think of it. (Princess Alice, Biographical Sketch and Letters, 1878)

The similar expression have the words stick in one’s throat implies an inability to express one-self due to intense emotion.

a new wrinkle See ADVANCEMENT.

red tape See COMPLICATION.

skeleton at the feast A source of gloom or sadness at an otherwise festive occasion; a wet blanket, a party pooper; something that acts as a reminder that life holds sorrow as well as joy. According to the Moralia, a collection of essays by Plutarch (A.D. circa 46-120), the Egyptians always placed a skeleton at their banquet tables to remind the revelers of their mortality.

The skeleton of ennui sat at these dreary feasts; and it was not even crowned with roses. (George Lawrence, Guy Livingstone, 1857)

It was also common practice for many monastic orders to place a skull or death’s head on the refectory table to remind those present of their mortality.

there’s the rub Said of an impediment, hindrance, or stumbling-block, especially one of an abstract nature; the crux of a problem. In this expression, rub alludes to the rubbing of a spoon inside a mixing bowl, an occurrence which interferes with smooth stirring. Although rub in this sense had been in use for some time before Shakespeare, he popularized the phrase by incorporating it into Hamlet’s famous soliloquy:

To be, or not to be: that is the question …
To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub. (III, i)

A variation is here lies the rub.

third wheel See EXTRANEOUSNESS.

wet blanket A discouraging or dampening influence on others’ enjoyment of a party or similar pleasurable occasion; a person who is habitually grouchy or depressed; a kill-joy, party pooper, spoilsport. Literally, a wet blanket is one that has been soaked in water and is used to smother or quench a fire. The figurative implications are obvious.

Sometimes he called her a wet blanket, when she thus dampened his ardor. (Margaret Oliphant, Annals of a Publishing House, 1897)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.impediment - something immaterial that interferes with or delays action or progress
difficulty - a factor causing trouble in achieving a positive result or tending to produce a negative result; "serious difficulties were encountered in obtaining a pure reagent"
albatross, millstone - (figurative) something that hinders or handicaps; "she was an albatross around his neck"
bind - something that hinders as if with bonds
diriment impediment - (canon law) an impediment that invalidates a marriage (such as the existence of a prior marriage)
drag - something that slows or delays progress; "taxation is a drag on the economy"; "too many laws are a drag on the use of new land"
obstacle, obstruction - something immaterial that stands in the way and must be circumvented or surmounted; "lack of imagination is an obstacle to one's advancement"; "the poverty of a district is an obstacle to good education"; "the filibuster was a major obstruction to the success of their plan"
straitjacket - anything immaterial that severely hinders or confines; "they defected because Russian dance was in a straitjacket"; "the government is operating in an economic straitjacket"
2.impediment - any structure that makes progress difficultimpediment - any structure that makes progress difficult
bar - an obstruction (usually metal) placed at the top of a goal; "it was an excellent kick but the ball hit the bar"
barrier - a structure or object that impedes free movement
blockade - prevents access or progress
blockage, stoppage, occlusion, closure, block, stop - an obstruction in a pipe or tube; "we had to call a plumber to clear out the blockage in the drainpipe"
hinderance, hindrance, preventative, preventive, encumbrance, incumbrance, interference, hitch - any obstruction that impedes or is burdensome
obstacle - an obstruction that stands in the way (and must be removed or surmounted or circumvented)
structure, construction - a thing constructed; a complex entity constructed of many parts; "the structure consisted of a series of arches"; "she wore her hair in an amazing construction of whirls and ribbons"
tumbler - a movable obstruction in a lock that must be adjusted to a given position (as by a key) before the bolt can be thrown
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002


Something that impedes or prevents entry or passage:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ثِقَلٌ أو عِيٌّ في اللسانعائِق، حائِل، مانِع
engelhafif bir kusurmanî


[ɪmˈpedɪmənt] N
1. (= obstacle) → obstáculo m, impedimento m (to para) (Jur) → impedimento m (to para)
2. (Med) → defecto m
speech impedimentdefecto m del habla
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


[ɪmˈpɛdɪmənt] nentrave m
to be an impediment to sth → être une entrave à qch
The new taxes were a major impediment to economic growth → Les nouveaux impôts constituaient une importante entrave à la croissance économique.
The current level of rates was not an impediment to economic recovery → Le niveau actuel des taux ne constitue pas une entrave à la reprise de l'économie. speech impediment
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


Hindernis nt
(Med) → Behinderung f; speech impedimentSprachfehler m, → Sprachstörung f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ɪmˈpɛdɪmənt] n
a. (obstacle) → ostacolo
b. (Law) → impedimento
c. (Med) → difetto
speech impediment → difetto di pronuncia
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(imˈpiːd) verb
to prevent or delay the start or progress of. Progress on the building of the road was impeded by a fall of rock.
impediment (imˈpedimənt) noun
1. something that delays or prevents.
2. a small fault in a person's speech. A stammer is a speech impediment.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


n. impedimento, obstáculo, obstrucción.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


n speech — (ant) trastorno del habla
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
Challenger, who, being satisfied that no criticism or comment in this book is meant in an offensive spirit, has guaranteed that he will place no impediment to its publication and circulation.
Saite, as understood by dunces and all such as suffer from an impediment in their wit.
"I require and charge you both (as ye will answer at the dreadful day of judgment, when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed), that if either of you know any impediment why ye may not lawfully be joined together in matrimony, ye do now confess it; for be ye well assured that so many as are coupled together otherwise than God's Word doth allow, are not joined together by God, neither is their matrimony lawful."
The growing crowd, he said, was becoming a serious impediment to their excavations, especially the boys.
Some parts were more, and others were less easy, but we were not once brought to a halt by any serious impediment, for when an obstruction was met in front it could always be turned to the right or to the left.
"Though with your usual anxiety for our happiness," said Elinor, "you have been obviating every impediment to the present scheme which occurred to you, there is still one objection which, in my opinion, cannot be so easily removed."
HE THAT hath wife and children hath given hostages to fortune; for they are impediments to great enterprises, either of virtue or mischief.
From the narrowness of the gorge, and the steepness of its sides, there was no mode of advancing but by wading through the water; stumbling every moment over the impediments which lay hidden under its surface, or tripping against the huge roots of trees.
The inquest was the first of the impediments in the way of my freedom of action.
In all those years it had never once been opened; but either she unlocked it or the decaying wood and iron yielded to her hand, or she glided shadow-like through these impediments -- and, at all events, went in.
And thus, through the courage and great skill in obstetrics of Queequeg, the deliverance, or rather, delivery of Tashtego, was successfully accomplished, in the teeth, too, of the most untoward and apparently hopeless impediments; which is a lesson by no means to be forgotten.
Similar impediments occur at every step, to exhaust the strength and delay the progress of an invader.