Pediment vs impediment

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Pediment and impediment are two words that are close in spelling in pronunciation and are often confused. We will examine the definitions of the words pediment and impediment, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A pediment is a triangular structure that is mounted over a window or door as a decoration. Pediment may also be used to mean a triangle-shaped ornament piece mounted over a doorway or fireplace. In geology, pediment means a broad slope of rock debris that extends from the foot of a slope. The word pediment is derived from the sixteenth century word periment, which is most probably a variation of the word pyramid, referring to the triangle shape.

An impediment is an obstruction that keeps one from accomplishing something, a hindrance to progress. Impediment is often used in the expression speech impediment, which refers to a disability involving in one’s ability to speak, such as lisp or a stutter. The word impediment is derived from the Latin word impedimentum, which means hindrance.


Passersby on Oregon’s Interstate 5 saw a boxy building with an out-of-scale, giant pediment hovering over six elaborate window frames. (The Oregonian)

According to the state Department of Transportation, which owns the building, the company is repairing the roof to address water that is leaking from joints around the central pediment, the stone ornamental structure that rises up from the building’s roof. (The Westerly Sun)

Living with a speech impediment can be stressful and overwhelming. (The Commercial Appeal)

The Supreme Court on Thursday said that anyone creating impediments in the way of the auction of Sahara group’s Aamby valley property would invite contempt of the top court and go to jail. (The Times)