Words Poorly Used #77.1 — Impeachment

This week, after reading Skyler Collins’ offering in Two Cents, I came upon a new approach to Words Poorly Used.  I will gild the lily by running the words or phrases through OneLook.com, linking them, then commenting on the unusual that I encounter via that process.

“Impeachment” at OneLook
noun: a formal document charging a public official with misconduct in office

Pretty simple, huh? But not quite. What leaps out to me is “charging … with” not “finding … guilty of …” Was Bill Clinton found guilty? Was Dick Nixon found guilty … or even impeached?

▸ Words similar to impeachment

prosecutionrecusalousterdisqualificationindictmentdismissalremovaloustingmotionaccusationrecalldestitutionindictedrebukeaccountabilityreproachnegligencearraignmentdepositionsegregationisolationappealaccusedaccusingaccusecarelessnesschargeisolatingchallengedefencelesschargedcontinuedperjurytreasoncensuredisbarmentreelectionjudiciaryconstitutionalsenatepresidencynullificationacquittalelectioncourt martialmalfeasancebriberycongressionalappeachimpeachabilitymonicagategovernorshipspeakershipfillibustercongressmengermanenesssenatorsfilibustercorruptioninterpellationadjournmentconstitutionalismquo warrantosenatorialclotureethics committeemisdoingwatergate scandallegesecessiondemocracycompurgationcontempt of congressexonerationsolonsrichard milhous nixonseditiondestabilizationlegislativechimangoinvestigatorybill of attainderdemocraticarrogationexecutive privilegenollelustrationobstructionismmonica lewinskyjudicial activismsubpoena ad testificandumindictmentslieutenant governorshiprecusationcandidacypardonprorogationstatehousedirect examinationdissolution (see more…)

Interesting entries here are:

  1. prosecution — this does not always follow impeachment
  2. ouster — Nixon was oustered, but not impeached, while both Andrew Johnson and Clinton were acquitted.
  3. The same sort of observation applies to similar words such as “disqualification” and “removal.”
  4. There were cases of euphemism in drafting the constitutional language.
  5. Whether intended 0or not, all three of these episodes had many consequences, not the least of which was an equivalence to a bill of attainder.

▸ Words most associated with impeachment

impeachedimpeachproceedingswatergateperjuryjudiciarynixonacquittalclintontrialcomplaintconvictionacquittedconvictobstructionpickeringhastingsbriberysenate, …

For example …

▸ Popular adjectives describing impeachment


Got to love words like soft, serious, terrible, improper, mad, …

▸ Rhymes of impeachment

preachmentbeseechmentappeachmenttreatmentagreementachievementin agreementdisagreementconcealmentbereavementpretreatmentvehementmaltreatmentappeasement,… mistreatmenteasementunderachievementretreatmentimpeachmentsuniquementpreachmentsbementaftertreatmentmalheureusementrevetementfeoffment, …

Just for the fun of it.

▸ Invented words related to impeachment

Fun score
Input words New word (click to hear) Pronunciation
305 impeachment + unconstitutional = impeachmenconstitutional /ʌmpitʃmʌnkɔnstʌtuʃʌnʌɫ/
283 destitution + indicted = destitutiondicted /dɛstʌtuʃʌndaɪtʌd/
281 impeachment + conviction = impeachmenviction /ʌmpitʃmʌnvʌkʃʌn/
269 impeachment + continued = impeachmentinued /ʌmpitʃmʌntʌnjud/
264 appeal + impeachment = appeament /ʌpitʃmʌnt/
261 complaint + impeachment = compachment /kʌmpitʃmʌnt/

Sh!ts and giggles (LOL) …

Phrases that include impeachment:   impeachment of wasteimpeachment in the usimpeachment in ukraineimpeachment of bill clintonimpeachment trial of andrew johnsonmore…


Now, let’s check out the etymology — from where did the word come?

impeachment (n.)
late 14c., enpechement “accusation, charge,” from Old French empeechement “difficulty, hindrance; (legal) impeachment,” from empeechier “to hinder, impede” (see impeach). As a judicial proceeding on charges of maladministration against a public official, from 1640s.

Isn’t “(legal) impeachment” a redundancy? Aren’t “hinder” and “impede” obvious? Oh, oh, oh! Maladministration??? Never!!!

Kilgore Forelle

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Kilgore Forelle

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