im·​pale | \ im-ˈpāl How to pronounce impale (audio) \
impaled; impaling

Definition of impale

transitive verb

1a : to pierce with or as if with something pointed especially : to torture or kill by fixing on a sharp stake
b : to fix in an inescapable or helpless position
2 : to join (coats of arms) on a heraldic shield divided vertically by a pale

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Other Words from impale

impalement \ im-​ˈpāl-​mənt How to pronounce impale (audio) \ noun
impaler \ im-​ˈpā-​lər How to pronounce impale (audio) \ noun

Examples of impale in a Sentence

impale a marshmallow or two on that stick and let's start toasting
Recent Examples on the Web Some tree stands have a spike in the middle on which to impale the tree; others use adjustable bolts or fasteners to hold it upright. Jessica Roy, Los Angeles Times, "How to buy a live Christmas tree," 3 Dec. 2020 The team of survivors work together to repair generators, while the killer attempts to catch the survivors and impale their bodies on giant hooks strewn across the map. Reece Rogers, Wired, "The Queer Appeal of Dead by Daylight," 27 Oct. 2020 Teeth, engineered to impale and hold struggling prey, sliced a vein below his elbow. Kimberly Miller, USA TODAY, "Python hunter alone in Florida Everglades suffers bloody bite, brings home 17-foot snake," 19 June 2020 In October, Streisand tweeted a cartoon of Nancy Pelosi impaling Trump with her stiletto heel. Madison Dibble, Washington Examiner, "‘One-man weapon of mass destruction’: Barbra Streisand begs US not to reelect Trump," 3 Mar. 2020 Since 2002, at least 29 dolphins in the Southeast United States have been shot by guns or arrows or purposefully impaled with fishing spears, including four incidents within the past year. Jon Haworth, ABC News, "Dead dolphins with gunshot, stab wounds wash ashore and authorities want to know why," 12 Feb. 2020 In 2018, a British tourist relaxing on a beach in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, was struck by a flying umbrella that impaled her ankle; rescuers had to use bolts cutters to free her. Washington Post, "NJ bill would make beachgoers fasten umbrellas to the sand," 26 Feb. 2020 Other photos taken at the scene of the accident show firefighters and police offers surrounding the white vehicle, as well as one of a firefighter holding up the long metal bar that impaled the woman’s leg. Joelle Goldstein,, "Passenger Survives After Being Impaled by Metal Bar That Fell Off Truck on Busy California Highway," 4 Nov. 2019 There have been at least 29 dolphins evidently impaled or shot by guns or arrows since 2002. Li Cohen, CBS News, "Two dolphins with gunshot and stab wounds wash up in Florida," 12 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'impale.' 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 impale

1605, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for impale

Middle French & Medieval Latin; Middle French empaler, from Medieval Latin impalare, from Latin in- + palus stake — more at pole

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Cite this Entry

“Impale.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for impale



English Language Learners Definition of impale

: to cause a pointed object to go into or through (someone or something)


im·​pale | \ im-ˈpāl How to pronounce impale (audio) \
impaled; impaling

Kids Definition of impale

: to pierce with something pointed

More from Merriam-Webster on impale

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for impale

Nglish: Translation of impale for Spanish Speakers

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