im·​pa·​la | \im-ˈpa-lə, -ˈpä- \
plural impalas or impala

Definition of impala 

: a large brownish antelope (Aepyceros melampus) of southeastern Africa that in the male has slender curved horns with ridges

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Illustration of impala

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A swift-running, graceful antelope, the impala is found in large herds, usually near water, on the savannas and open woodlands of central and southern Africa. Impalas are noted for their jumping ability: when alarmed, they bound off in leaps up to 30 ft (9m) long and 10 ft (3m) high. Lightly built, the impala stands 30-40 in (75-100 cm) high at the shoulder. It has a golden to reddish brown coat, white underparts, a vertical black stripe on each thigh, and a black tuft behind each hind foot. The male has long, lyre-shaped horns.

Examples of impala in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Fischer compiled photos of the animals the pair had hunted, which included a leopard, giraffe, impala and waterbuck, and sent the images along with descriptions of each kill to more than 100 people, KBOI reported. Allyson Chiu, The Seattle Times, "‘I shot a whole family of baboons’: Idaho Fish and Game official faces fury after Africa trophy hunting boasts," 16 Oct. 2018 So another effort at South Africa's Welgevonden Game Reserve has tried a different sort of IoT approach, tracking the behavior of other herd animals (such as zebras, impalas and gazelles). Sean Gallagher, Ars Technica, "We know you hate the Internet of Things, but it’s saving megafauna from poachers," 6 June 2018 Your guide drives you alongside zebras and wildebeests and herd after herd of impalas, the hot-supermodel versions of deer. Caity Weaver, GQ, "This South African Hotel Will Make You Forget You Don’t Live an Easy, Luxurious Life," 8 Feb. 2018 But being scrappy means leopards are also more athletic—a leopard can quickly haul an impala up a tree, for instance. National Geographic, "Can You Spot the Difference Between a Jaguar and a Leopard?," 15 Dec. 2017 There were white elk and eland, impala and Arabian oryx. Manny Fernandez, New York Times, "Blood and Beauty on a Texas Exotic-Game Ranch," 19 Oct. 2017 The Cape buffalo guard the savanna, while the impalas and waterbucks graze among the trees. Alex Shoumatoff, Smithsonian, "To Save Giraffes, We May Need to Put Our Necks Out," 29 Mar. 2017 Herds of kudu, impala, zebras and springbok cautiously tiptoed to quench their thirst, mindful of the predators in the bush. charlotteobserver, "Mourning a friend, Charlotte man found healing – amid surreal African beauty," 27 Oct. 2017 Animals with bony growths known as horns—rhinos, rams, impala—tend to grow them young and keep them their whole life. Jason Bittel, Smithsonian, "Antlers Are Miraculous Face Organs That Could Benefit Human Health," 12 June 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impala.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of impala

1875, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for impala


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Last Updated

9 Dec 2018

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Time Traveler for impala

The first known use of impala was in 1875

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English Language Learners Definition of impala

: a large brownish African animal

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with impala

Spanish Central: Translation of impala

Nglish: Translation of impala for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about impala

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