im·pale | \im-ˈpāl \
impaled; impaling

Definition of impale 

transitive verb

1 : to join (coats of arms) on a heraldic shield divided vertically by a pale

2a : 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

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Other Words from impale

impalement \im-ˈpāl-mənt \ noun
impaler \im-ˈpā-lər \ 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

Rescue workers who raced to the scene could hear people moaning and crying, pinned beneath concrete slabs, impaled with steel girders, suffocating from dust. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Rise of the Victims’-Rights Movement," 14 May 2018 The Lycra-Legged Screamer swerved, clipped a nun on a Unicycle and was impaled on a selfie stick. Joyce Wadler, New York Times, "E.T. Doesn’t Like the Bike Path Either," 18 June 2018 Lawyers Matthew Rabin and Shaun Serelson represent a driver and passenger injured when a metal rod impaled their car within the I-4 work zone. Kevin Spear,, "I-4 construction nightmares: Drivers seeking payment for car damage face daunting odds," 13 July 2018 Some of them have tennis balls impaled on the curved metal runners at the front, called kufens. Gregg Doyel, Indianapolis Star, "Doyel: USA Luge's search for next great Winter Olympian visits Indianapolis," 28 June 2018 But the thrill in this bull run is not being trampled by a stampede or impaled by horns. Lorraine Ali,, "Review: 'Brimstone & Glory' looks at a small town in Mexico where fireworks are made," 1 July 2018 Twenty years ago, Stephanie Murray was impaled by a steel bar on I-95. Marci Shatzman,, "You won't believe the things that smack into drivers' cars," 8 June 2018 From there, Ellie slinks through a dark, dystopian forest full of dead bodies hanging from trees or impaled on whatever’s handy. Megan Farokhmanesh, The Verge, "Sony’s E3 press conference was a hyper-detailed gross-out fest," 12 June 2018 Prometheus, impaled forever on a rock for tipping humanity off about fire and freedom, has stood since antiquity for the unstoppable triumph of reason over religious or cultural orthodoxy and raw power. Max Maller, Chicago Reader, "Prometheus Bound remains inert," 10 May 2018

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 1

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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Statistics for impale

Last Updated

1 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for impale

The first known use of impale was in 1605

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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 \
impaled; impaling

Kids Definition of impale

: to pierce with something pointed

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Comments on impale

What made you want to look up impale? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a state of commotion or excitement

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