from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • intransitive v. To be about to occur: Her retirement is impending.
  • intransitive v. To threaten to happen; menace: discouraged by the trouble that impended.
  • intransitive v. Archaic To jut out; hang suspended.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. to be about to happen or occur, especially of something which takes some time such as a process or procedure rather than just a short event. "To impend" often has the connotation of threat.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To hang over; to be suspended above; to threaten from near at hand; to menace; to be imminent. See imminent.
  • transitive v. To pay.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To overhang; be ready to fall; be imminent; threaten; be on the point of occurring, as something evil.
  • To hang over.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. be imminent or about to happen


Latin impendēre : in-, over; see in-2 + pendēre, to hang; see (s)pen- in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Latin impendere ("to hang over, to weigh out"). (Wiktionary)



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  • Oh, indeed it does! (And love the quote too.)

    September 22, 2007

  • "Well, after a while something happened——"

    "Oh, no, it didn't. Something impended always, but it never happened."

    Stephen Crane, The Third Violet

    It's always nice to see a word's less common inflections in use. It had never really occurred to me to use this word in any role but the participial!

    Aside: Project Gutenberg rocks!

    September 21, 2007