The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Impediment \Im*ped"i*ment\, n. [L. impedimentum: cf. F.
That which impedes or hinders progress, motion, activity, or
Thus far into the bowels of the land
Have we marched on without impediment. --Shak.
Impediment in speech, a defect which prevents distinct
Syn: Hindrance; obstruction; obstacle; difficulty;
Usage: Impediment, Obstacle, Difficulty, Hindrance.
An impediment literally strikes against our feet,
checking our progress, and we remove it. An obstacle
rises before us in our path, and we surmount or remove
it. A difficulty sets before us something hard to be
done, and we encounter it and overcome it. A hindrance
holds us back for a time, but we break away from it.
The eloquence of Demosthenes was to Philip of
Macedon, a difficulty to be met with his best
resources, an obstacle to his own ambition, and
an impediment in his political career. --C. J.