im·​pa·​la im-ˈpa-lə How to pronounce impala (audio) -ˈpä- How to pronounce impala (audio)
plural impalas or impala
: a large brownish antelope (Aepyceros melampus) of southeastern Africa that in the male has slender curved horns with ridges

Illustration of impala

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 The monument sits on top of an impala lily, the national flower of Ghana, where Truth’s father traced his heritage. Patrick Orsagos, The Christian Science Monitor, 31 May 2024 Animals that live in Adventure Africa today include elephants, giraffes, hippos, impala, eastern bongo, ostriches, African crested Guineafowl and East African crowned cranes. Amy Schwabe, Journal Sentinel, 25 Apr. 2024 Hippos and impalas acting nervous because of the disruption in their routines 2017: Some 75% of observed species in a zoo engaging in their evening or nighttime behaviors. Trilce Estrada Olvera, The Arizona Republic, 10 Apr. 2024 This was true for 95 percent of the animal species observed, including giraffes, leopards, hyenas, zebras, kudu, warthogs, impalas and rhinos. Daniel Lingenhöhl, Scientific American, 18 Oct. 2023 About 95 percent of species, including giraffes, leopards, hyenas, warthog, impala, elephants, and rhinoceroses, ran more often or abandoned waterholes more quickly in response to human sounds than lions. Laura Baisas, Popular Science, 5 Oct. 2023 South African media reported that two giraffes and six impalas had been slaughtered and skinned as part of the ritual preparations. Reuters, CNN, 16 Sep. 2023 Following a scenic-view breakfast alongside a pack of impalas the next morning, our group left for the Zungulila bushcamp. Demetrius Simms, Robb Report, 14 Sep. 2023 Someone called Sipho to tell him that there was a hyena and some wild dogs eating an impala from that viewpoint. Matthew Gavin Frank, Harper's Magazine, 10 Sep. 2022

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'impala.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



First Known Use

1875, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of impala was in 1875

Dictionary Entries Near impala

Cite this Entry

“Impala.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


im·​pa·​la im-ˈpal-ə How to pronounce impala (audio) -ˈpäl- How to pronounce impala (audio)
: a large brownish African antelope that in the male has slender curving horns

from the name in Zulu, an African language

More from Merriam-Webster on impala

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