To impede means to hinder or obstruct the progress, movement, or development of something or someone. It refers to creating obstacles or difficulties that make it challenging to achieve a particular goal or objective.


US English

UK English

Part of Speech



hinder, obstruct, block, hamper, hinder, delay, slow down, deter, thwart


facilitate, assist, advance, expedite, promote, aid, encourage, support, propel

Word Forms

Part of Speech Words
Noun impediments, impediment
Verb impeding, impedes, impede, impeded
Adjective None
Adverb None

Example Sentences

  • The heavy traffic on the highway impeded our journey, causing a significant delay in reaching our destination.

  • The lack of funding for education in underserved areas can impede students’ ability to receive a quality education and fulfill their potential.

  • The complicated bureaucratic procedures often impede the efficient delivery of essential services to the public.

  • His fear of failure impeded him from taking risks and pursuing his dreams.


The word “impede” originated from Late Latin “impedire,” which translates to “to hinder” or “to hold back.” The term can be further broken down into its prefix, suffix, and root. The prefix “im-” is a variant of the Latin prefix “in-”, indicating negation or reversal. The suffix “-ede” is derived from the Latin suffix “-dere,” meaning “to put” or “to place.” Lastly, the root of the word is “ped,” which originates from the Latin “pes” or “pedis,” referring to “foot.”

The usage of “impede” typically relates to hindering or obstructing progress, movement, or development. It commonly implies creating barriers or challenges that impede the achievement of a certain goal or the smooth functioning of a process. This word is typically applied to various contexts, such as traffic, education, bureaucracy, and personal growth.

In traffic or transportation, “impede” can describe a congested road or an obstacle on the path that slows down or obstructs the flow of vehicles. In the realm of education, it often refers to factors like limited resources, unequal distribution of funding, or inadequate facilities that impede students’ access to quality education or hinder their academic progress.

Within bureaucratic systems, “impede” is often used to address complex procedures, red tape, or excessive regulations that obstruct or delay the efficient delivery of services to the public. Additionally, on an individual level, “impede” can describe personal barriers, fears, or self-doubt that hinder someone from taking risks, pursuing their aspirations, or reaching their full potential.

Overall, “impede” is a versatile word that describes the act of hindering or obstructing progress, whether in physical, societal, or personal realms. Its historical origins and the understanding of its prefix, suffix, and root contribute to a comprehensive understanding of its usage in contemporary language.